Kalaikunda Air Force Station

Kalaikunda Air Force Station is an Indian Air Force Base near Kharagpur, located in the Midnapore West district of the state of West Bengal. It was the home of No. 18 Squadron IAF, the Flying Bullets. The squadron flew the Indian license-built Mikoyan MiG-27ML till its decommissioning in April 2016.[1] A squadron of Su-30 MKIs is now at the base.[2]

Kalaikunda Air Force Station

Roundel of India
MiG-27 from No.18 Squad, Kalaikunda
Indian Air Force Mig-27
Summary
Airport typeMilitary
OwnerIndian Air Force
OperatorIndian Air Force
LocationKharagpur, India
Elevation AMSL200 ft / 61 m
Coordinates22°20′21.90″N 087°12′52.37″E / 22.3394167°N 87.2145472°ECoordinates: 22°20′21.90″N 087°12′52.37″E / 22.3394167°N 87.2145472°E
Map
Kalaikunda Air Force Station is located in India
Kalaikunda Air Force Station
Kalaikunda Air Force Station
Location of Kalaikunda Air Force Station, India
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 9,000 2,743
B-29 "The Craig Comet" of the 794th Bomb Squadron 468th Bomb Group
Photo of "The Craig Comet" Bell-Atlanta B-29-15-BA Superfortress 42-63445 of the 794th Bomb Squadron 468th Bomb Wing, Kalaikunda AB, India

History

Air Force Station Kalaikunda was built by the British for the Royal Indian Air Force during World War II. It was used to conduct raids against advancing Japanese in Burma and also for operations to transport aid to parts of China.

It was originally designed for B-24 Liberator use. In 1943, it was designated as a B-29 Superfortress Base for the planned deployment of the United States Army Air Forces XX Bomber Command to India. Advance Army Air Forces echelons arrived in India in December 1943 to organize the upgrading of the airfield and thousands of Indians labored to upgrade the facility for Superfortress operations. It was one of four B-29 bases established by the Americans in India.

When the XX Bomber Command arrived at Kalaikunda in late March 1944, the conditions at the base were poor, and the runways were still in the process of being lengthened when the first B-29s arrived. Along with Command Headquarters, Kalaikunda was also the headquarters of the 58th Bombardment Wing, which arrived in late April.

The operational B-29 group assigned to Kalaikunda was the 468th Bombardment Group, with the 512th, 792d, 793d, 749th and 795th Bombardment Squadrons.

Initially, the 468th hauled bombs, fuel, ammunition and spare parts 1,200 miles to its forward staging base at Pengshan Airfield (A-7), Pengshan, Szechwan Province, China. Six round trips were necessary to deliver enough fuel for one airplane to mount a combat mission from China — an impractical logistics concept for an aerial campaign, particularly with an airplane plagued with an unreliable engine.

On 5 June 1944, the 468th flew its first operational mission from Kalaikunda against railroad yards at Bangkok, Thailand. Ten days later, flying from field A-7, the 468th bombed the Imperial Iron & Steel Works, Yawata, Japan - the opening of the B-29 phase of the Air Offensive against Japan. Within a year, it participated in eight campaigns and earned three Distinguished Unit Citations.

From June 1944 until May 1945, operating at maximum range, the 468th conducted aerial reconnaissance and bombardment operations from India and China against Japanese targets in Japan, Manchuria, China, Taiwan, Burma, the Malay Peninsula, Singapore and Sumatra. Sixteen-hour combat missions were common; the longest 21. Weather, terrain and the enemy were equally unforgiving. The B-29 was still being "invented" and its operational tactics had to be proved while the airplane was being de-bugged in the face of the enemy.

In July 1944, U. S. Marines invaded the Mariana Islands and as soon as West Field, Tinian, was readied in May 1945, the group flew to West Field and continued the Air Offensive against Japan.

With the departure of the B-29s, the Tenth Air Force 2d Air Commando Group used the airfield. Flying North American O-47s, P-51 Mustangs, C-47 Skytrains and L-5 Sentinel aircraft, the commando unit dropped supplies to Allied troops who were fighting the Japanese in the Chindwin Valley in Burma; moved Chinese troops from Burma to China; transported men, food, ammunition, and construction equipment to Burma; dropped Gurka paratroops during the assault on Rangoon; provided fighter support for Allied forces crossing the Irrawaddy River in February 1945; struck enemy airfields and transportation facilities; escorted bombers to targets in the vicinity of Rangoon; bombed targets in Thailand; and flew reconnaissance missions.

After May 1945 the fighter squadrons were in training; in June the group's C-47's were sent to Ledo to move road-building equipment; during June— July most of its L-5's were turned over to Fourteenth Air Force in China.

Current Status

The air base at Kalaikunda will play an extremely crucial role in the country's defences. Aircraft based here will be involved in air defence over the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Bay of Bengal. The tri-services command at the A&N Islands will be in charge of the squadrons of Su-30 MKIs and other advanced aircraft based at Kalaikunda for this specific purpose. This decision was taken when plans for basing Sukhois in the Andamans got scuttled after the 2004 tsunami in which the IAF lost assets. "Till now, Kalaikunda — while performing several other duties — has been a bridge with the Andamans. The role of the base will grow and aircraft based here will play a vital role in patrolling the skies over the Andamans and the Bay of Bengal. Kalaikunda will play several roles that include air defence, training and building better co-operation in the region for a possible Nato-like alliance with India playing the pivotal role," an official said.[2]

The Kalaikunda airbase is nestled among forests of Sal in the Maoist badlands of West Midnapore. Set up by the Americans for its Superfortress bombers operating during the Burma campaign, the facility has grown steadily in importance over the years. "A large area falls within the responsibility of this base. There are several bases in the northeast but along the eastern coast, the closest one is in Chennai. It is our job to handle the defences along the coast and the Bay of Bengal region. We play host to several foreign air forces interested in joint exercises with the IAF," the official added.[2]

"This is a very compact base built in classical American style. The Americans used to operate flights from Kalaikunda, Dudhkundi and Salua. Today, we have a radar station at Salua and Dudhkundi has been converted into an air-to-ground firing range. Over the years, Kalaikunda has developed into a major location for international air exercises. The base is close to Bay of Bengal where air-to-air firing can take place," says Air Commodore R Radhish, AOC, Air Force Station, Kalaikunda.[2]

But Kalaikunda goes well beyond an exercise hub. Apart from the MiG-27 ground attack aircraft and MiG-21 Fn fighters of the OCU, squadrons of Su-30 MKIs and other advanced varieties from the IAF's fleet call on Kalaikunda on a regular basis. A squadron of Su-30 MKIs is now at the base.[2]

On 9 October 2007 Singapore signed an agreement with India to base the aircraft and personnel of the Republic of Singapore Air Force for training at the airbase for a period of five years.[3] This agreement was renewed in 2012 and in 2017 both for 5 year periods.[4]

Now Indian Air Force agreeing to allow civil aircraft to use the runway at its existing fighter base. According to IAF sources, plans have moved ahead and the civilian terminal might soon start serving not only Bengal, but also Jharkhand and Orissa. The state government has already engaged an agency that is in touch with us. We have no problems if civilian aircraft use our runway and then move to a separate terminal to the south of the existing military facility. All that needs to be built is a high-speed corridor from the runway to a civilian terminal for which land is available. This corridor will pass under NH6 (Mumbai Road) and the railway tracks in the Kharagpur-Tata section of South Eastern Railway[2]

The Civilian Terminal will be used by Alliance Air for daily flights for Vishakapatnam and Bhubaneshwar from 1 April 2019 under scheme of UDAN III released by the government.

Base facilities

Inside the base, there is a market, bank, film auditorium, hospital and a school, namely, Air Force School, Kalaikunda.

See also

References

  1. ^ "No. 18 Squadron numberplated". Times Of India. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gupta, Jayanta (3 October 2011). "Kalaikunda fighters in charge of Andaman and Nicobar Islands defences". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  3. ^ Singapore ‘leases’ IAF base for 5 yrs DNA India 10 October 2007
  4. ^ RSAF to train with Indian Air Force for another 5 years, under renewed bilateral pact Strait Times 19 January 2017

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
2008 North Indian Ocean cyclone season

The 2008 North Indian cyclone season was one of the most disastrous seasons in modern history, with tropical cyclones leaving more than 140,000 people dead and causing nearly US$14 billion in damage. The season has no official bounds but cyclones tend to form between April and December. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the northern Indian Ocean. There are two main seas in the North Indian Ocean—the Bay of Bengal to the east of the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Sea to the west of India. The official Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre in this basin is the India Meteorological Department (IMD), while the Joint Typhoon Warning Center releases unofficial advisories. An average of four to six storms form in the North Indian Ocean every season with peaks in May and November. Cyclones occurring between the meridians 45°E and 100°E are included in the season by the IMD.During 2008, the IMD monitored a total of ten depressions across the North Indian Ocean, significantly below the average of fifteen. Of these systems, seven developed into deep depressions, four into cyclonic storms, and one into a very severe cyclonic storm. The JTWC unofficially tracked seven systems, with six having one-minute sustained winds greater than 65 km/h (40 mph), slightly above their 32-year average of five. Activity was mostly limited to the Bay of Bengal, with only two depressions developing in the Arabian Sea. Somewhat unusually, no depression developed during the month of July due to the lack of a prominent monsoon. Collectively, there were a total of 30 days of activity in the basin, with no storms existing simultaneously.The first and most destructive storm of the season, Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy Delta in southern Myanmar, with a 3 to 5 m (9.8 to 16.4 ft) storm surge. Approximately 800,000 homes were severely damaged or destroyed and infrastructure was devastated. An estimated 138,373 people lost their lives and damage reached 11.7 trillion Burmese kyat (US$12.9 billion). Nargis is regarded as the worst disaster in the nation's history as well as the fourth-deadliest tropical cyclone on record. Other storms throughout the season caused significant damage in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Yemen. A depression in October was responsible for 180 deaths and US$1 billion in damage across Yemen. Overall, approximately 138,927 people were killed and losses totaled $14.7 billion (2008 USD).

352nd Special Operations Wing

The 352nd Special Operations Wing is an operational unit of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command currently stationed at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom. The unit's heritage dates back to 1944 as an air commando unit.The 352nd Wing serves as the focal point for all U.S. Air Force special operations activities throughout the European theater for U.S. European Command (USEUCOM), as well as Africa for U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and Southwest Asia and the Middle East for U.S. Central Command. The wing is prepared to conduct a variety of high priority, low-visibility missions supporting U.S. and allied special operations forces during peacetime, joint operations exercises, and combat operations. It trains and performs special operations primarily in the USEUCOM and USAFRICOM area of operations, including establishing air assault landing zones, controlling close air support by strike aircraft and gunships, and providing trauma care for wounded and injured personnel.

The group's origins date to 1944 as the 2nd Air Commando Group. The unit was assigned to Tenth Air Force in India, whose elements operated in Burma flying a mixture of fighters, bombers, transports, military gliders and small planes performing operations behind the Japanese lines, and providing close air support for the British Fourteenth Army in the Burma Campaign.

605th Special Operations Squadron

The 605th Special Operations Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the 24th Special Operations Wing at Howard Air Force Base, Panama Canal Zone, where it was inactivated on 30 April 1972.

Battle of Boyra

The Battle of Boyra, on 22 November 1971, was an aerial interception fought between the Indian Air Force and intruding Pakistani Air Force jets that had crossed into Indian Airspace. The Pakistani Army was engaged in combat against the Mukti Bahini (Bengali Guerrilla freedom fighters) and a Battalion size detachment of the Indian Army in the Battle of Garibpur as part of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Pakistani ground forces were invariably provided air cover and close air support by F-86 Sabre Jets of the PAF ex Dhaka, whose pilots crossed the Indo-Pak border with impunity. A detachment of four Folland Gnats was moved to Dum Dum (Kolkata Airport) from its parent base at Kalaikunda, near Kharagpur, over 100 km to the Southwest, to deal with such a contingency. The Detachment was commanded by Flt Lt Roy Andrew Massey.This battle is significant as it was the first engagement between the Air Forces of India and Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. It is seen as a culmination of the Battle of Garibpur in which the Mitro Bahini (The alliance of Mukti Bahini and Indian Armed Forces was named as Mitro Bahini meaning Allied Forces in Bengali) at Battalion strength successfully defended the area around Garibpur against a Brigade strength Combined Arms thrust by Pakistani Armed Forces and inflicted heavy casualties on them in the process.

The Battle of Boyra is named after the Boyra Salient, a feature which dominates the Garibpur area, and technically it is the Battle Over Boyra since it was an aerial battle.

Dudhkundi Airfield

Dudhkundi Airfield is an abandoned airfield in India, located 12 miles (19.2 km) SE of Jhargram, in the Jhargram district district in the Indian state of West Bengal.

Eastern Air Command (India)

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Kalaikunda

Kalaikunda is a census town in Kharagpur I CD Block in Kharagpur subdivision of Paschim Medinipur district in the state of West Bengal, India.

List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft (2010–present)

This is a list of notable accidents and incidents involving military aircraft grouped by the year in which the accident or incident occurred. Not all of the aircraft were in operation at the time. For more exhaustive lists, see the Aircraft Crash Record Office, the Air Safety Network or the Dutch Scramble Website Brush and Dustpan Database. Combat losses are not included except for a very few cases denoted by singular circumstances.

List of airports in India

This lists of airports in India includes existing and former, commercial airports, flying schools, military bases, etc. As per AAI data from Nov 2016, following are being targeted for the scheduled commercial flight operations under UDAN-RCS, including the following:

486 total airports, airstrips, flying schools and military bases are available in the country

123 airports with scheduled commercial flights including some with dual civilian and army use.

34 international airports (6 airports serve domestic flights only)

List of airports in West Bengal

This is a list of airports in West Bengal, a state in eastern India, grouped by type and sorted by location. It contains all public-use and military airports in the state.

This list contains the following information:

City served - The city generally associated with the airport. This is not always the actual location since some airports are located in smaller towns outside the city they serve.

ICAO - The location indicator assigned by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

IATA - The airport code assigned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Airport name - The official airport name. Those shown in bold indicate the airport has scheduled service on commercial airlines.

Note - Specific information related to the airport

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 (Russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-25; NATO reporting name: Foxbat) is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft that was among the fastest military aircraft to enter service. It was designed by the Soviet Union's Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau and is one of the few combat aircraft built primarily using stainless steel. It was the last plane designed by Mikhail Gurevich before his retirement.The first prototype flew in 1964, and the aircraft entered service in 1970. It has an operational top speed of Mach 2.83 (Mach 3.2 is possible but at risk of significant damage to the engines) and features a powerful radar and four air-to-air missiles. When first seen in reconnaissance photography, the large wing suggested an enormous and highly maneuverable fighter, at a time when U.S. design theories were also evolving towards higher maneuverability due to combat performance in the Vietnam War. The appearance of the MiG-25 sparked serious concern in the West and prompted dramatic increases in performance for the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle then under development in the late 1960s. The capabilities of the MiG-25 were better understood in 1976 when Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko defected in a MiG-25 to the United States via Japan. It turned out that the aircraft's weight necessitated its large wings.

Production of the MiG-25 series ended in 1984 after completion of 1,186 aircraft. A symbol of the Cold War, the MiG-25 flew with Soviet allies and former Soviet republics, remaining in limited service in several export customers. It is one of the highest-flying military aircraft, one of the fastest serially produced interceptor aircraft, and the second-fastest serially produced aircraft after the SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft that was built in very small series compared to the MiG-25. As of 2018, the MiG-25 remains the fastest manned serially produced aircraft in operational use and the fastest plane that was offered for supersonic flights and edge-of-space flights to civilian customers.

No. 18 Squadron IAF

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