The hush-hush operations squadron complex for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Air Force Station Arjan Singh in Panagarh, Burdwan, has been completed and the base is awaiting the arrival of the first aircraft in the next few months.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has ordered the second squadron of six Super Hercules aircraft to be based in Panagarh. The first squadron is based at Hindon near New Delhi.
On Tuesday, the complex was inaugurated by Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh after whom the base, of World War-II vintage, was named after its upgradation in 2016. Among those present during the inauguration was Air Marshal Anil Khosla, AOC-in-C, Eastern Air Command. After its upgradation, the air base can accomodate all aircraft used by the IAF.
The C-130Js are special tactical support aircraft. Just as they can be used to transport equipment to far flung areas (in this case Advanced Landing Grounds close to the Line of Actual Control with China), these aircraft can participate is special operations by clandestinely landing troops and evacuating them without much fuss.
According to another official, Special Forces stay within the operations squadron complex itself and practice on a regular basis till they are called in for the real thing. The squadron at Panagarh is also crucial as the Army’s new mountain strike corps is based there.