IAF planning fighter plane base in Nyoma in Ladakh: Browne

As part of efforts to build up military infrastructure along the border with China, the IAF today said it plans to develop a fighter aircraft base at Nyoma in Ladakh and is upgrading seven airfields for carrying out 24X7 operations in the northeast.

The service is also considering extending the runway length and upgrading the Kargil airfield close to the Line of Control with Pakistan, its chief NAK Browne .

"Nyoma is an important location for both the Army and the IAF in the south east of Ladakh where we have good weather all round the year.... The cost of developing the air base would be around Rs 2,173 crore and it will take 4-5 years to develop it," he said, addressing the 81st Air Force Day press conference here.

Browne said the proposal for developing the Nyoma air field was mooted in 2010 with the landing of an An-32 transport aircraft there. It is right now with the Finance Ministry and is expected to be taken up by the Cabinet next month, he said.

"All types of aircraft including fighters, helicopters and transport aircraft would be able capable of being deployed and operated from there," he said.

Browne said the airbase, located at an altitude of around 13,000 feet, is lower in height than the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Daulat Beg Oldie but was higher than the air bases in Leh and Thoise.

The IAF had recently created a record of sorts by landing its C-130J Special Operations aircraft at the DBO ALG, which is situated at an altitude of over 16,000 feet and is close to Depsang Valley where Chinese troops had infiltrated and pitched the tents for 21 days earlier this year. 

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