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Project Seabird

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Title: Project Seabird  
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Subject: Indian Navy, Sinclair Knight Merz, Indian Naval Air Arm, Transport in Karnataka
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Project Seabird

Coordinates: 14°45′51.20″N 74°7′42.36″E / 14.7642222°N 74.1284333°E / 14.7642222; 74.1284333 Template:Infobox military structure

INS Kadamba is an Indian Navy base located near Karwar in Karnataka.[1] The first phase of construction of the base, code-named Project Seabird, was completed in 2005 and the base was commissioned on 31 May 2005.[2] Development of Phase II commenced in 2011. INS Kadamba is currently the third largest Indian naval base, and is expected to become the largest naval base in the eastern hemisphere after completion of expansion Phase IIB.[3][4]


During the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, the Indian Navy faced security challenges for its Western Fleet in Mumbai Harbour due to congestion in the shipping lanes from commercial shipping traffic, fishing boats and tourists. At the end of the war, various options were considered on addressing these concerns.[5] Alternative locations for a base on the west coast were evaluated, including Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur and Thoothukudi.[6]

In the early 1980s, then Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Oscar Stanley Dawson conceived of a dedicated naval base sandwiched between the craggy hills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea near Karwar in Karnataka state. Located south of the naval bases in Mumbai and Goa and north of Kochi, the location had significant advantages as being very close to the world's busiest shipping route between the Persian Gulf and east Asia and out of range of most strike aircraft from neighboring countries. It also offered a natural deep-water harbour and significant land area for expansion, allowing larger aircraft carriers to berth. However, due to a variety of reasons, including the 1991 economic crisis, development was delayed.[4]

Project Seabird

In 1999, following Pokhran-II, then Defence Minister George Fernandes approved Project Seabird to pursue the construction of the new naval base at Karwar. Larsen & Toubro was the lead contractor for the marine works on the harbour, in partnership with Hochtief, Ballast Nadem Dredging of the Netherlands, Radisson of Australia and Nedeco of The Netherland. Over 5 km of breakwater were constructed using over 44 lakh cubic meters of rock to protect the harbour.[7] The Binaga Bay was dredged and its rock outcrops blasted to allow even large aircraft carriers to turn inside the bay. Anjadip Island is one of the two islands to which the breakwaters are linked for reinforcement. A second channel will be added to the base to allow warships to enter and exit the port simultaneously.[4]


Phase I

Spread over an area of 45 square kilometres (11,000 acres) and 23 km (14 mi) of coastline on the Arabian Sea,[8] Phase I of INS Kadamba was commissioned on 31 May 2005.[9] Phase I opened the base in 2007, with space for up to 11 front-line warships and 10 smaller FIC-type boats. Key facilities include the 10,000 tonne, 175 m x 28 m ship lift and ship transfer system for dry docking at the Naval ship Repair Yard. The base has a Naval Ship Repair Yard and a 141-bed naval hospital INHS Patanjali.[10][11] Commodore K.P. Ramachandran was the first Commanding Officer.

Phase II

Development of Phase II of INS Kadamba commenced in 2011.[5] It will double the existing facilities at the base.[12] Phase II will reportedly involve expansion of the berthing facilities to accommodate 40 more front-line warships, tugs and barges, raise manpower to 300 officers and around 2,500 sailors, and build a naval air station with a 6,000-foot runway. The aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya will also be based at this base, after its planned delivery to the Indian Navy in 2013. The total cost of this project is estimated to be US $ 3 Billion.[3][10]

Phase II-A

Phase II-A is scheduled to last until 2018-2019, under which the base will get a naval air base, armament depot, dockyard complex and missile silos; plus additional jetties, berthing and anchorage facilities. this will enable the navy to berth 32 major warships and submarines, and various other ships including 10 of the 80 fast-interceptor craft (FICs) to be acquired for the coastal security force Sagar Prahari Bal. The Phase-IIA expansion approval has being sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security for the final nod, after getting approval from the Defence Minister A K Antony.[3][13]

Phase II-B

After the completion of this project, the INS Kadamba will be able to base 50 front-line warships, and will be the biggest naval base east of the Suez canal.[4][3][13]

Important milestones

  • Initial Sanction - 1985
  • Foundation Stone laid - 24 October 1986
  • Acquisition of land - 1985–1988
  • Master Plan & DPR - 1990
  • Truncated Phase 1 sanctioned - Oct 1995
  • Execution of project - 1995–2005
  • Rehabilitation Phase 1 - 1995–1999
  • Construction commenced - 2000
  • Priority Housing - February 2003
  • Breakwater completed - February 2004
  • Sailors Residential Colony - July 2004
  • Anchorage completed - November 2004
  • Pier completed - February 2005
  • Officers Colony at Kamath Bay - February 2004
  • Docking of the first navy ship INS Sutlej - 4 December 2004[4]
  • Karwar Naval Hospital - Feb 2005 (Temporary location)
  • Ship Lift installed - Apr 2005

See also

  • INS Varsha, the other major naval base, which is being developed on India's east coast.
  • Naval Station Norfolk, world's largest naval base.
  • Karwar Airport


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