Indigenously built Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) will soon be stationed at the new naval air enclave at Meenambakkam here, where the Indian Navy commissioned its Dornier air squadron on Monday.

Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Naval Staff, soon after he commissioned the Dornier 228 air squadron named Sea Eagles, said that the city and the Navy have always had a symbiotic relationship and the State capital also boasted of a rich maritime heritage and nautical connections. “Increased frequency of natural disasters is a growing challenge. This has become especially relevant on the east coast over the last few years, with Tamil Nadu facing the brunt on some occasions,” he pointed out and added that a need was felt to create an operational base in Chennai to enable better surveillance in the region.

Natural Focal Point

Overlooking the Bay of Bengal and some of the busiest sea lanes in the world, Chennai was a natural focal point for developing maritime awareness on India’s southern flank.

“In the near future, we will additionally position indigenously built ALHs at this base, which will boost search and rescue and casualty evacuation capability,” he added.