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Mig-29K simulator at INS Dega

The Indian Navy is fortifying its aerial defense capabilities with INS Dega, a key naval air station located in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, on the east coast of India. This strategic facility is set to become the home base for a squadron of 26 Rafale M fighter jets, bolstering India’s maritime prowess.

Dassault Aviation, the French aerospace giant, is supplying the Indian Navy with these advanced fighter jets. The order comprises:

22 Single Seater Rafale M, these multi-role jets are carrier-capable, meaning they can take off and land on aircraft carriers, extending India’s reach and aerial combat capabilities at sea. 4 Twin-Seater Rafale B, these variants are similar to the Rafale B jets inducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF). They are not designed for aircraft carrier operations but will play a vital role in pilot training missions conducted from shore-based stations like INS Dega.

INS Dega boasts a rich history, with the Indian Navy commencing aviation operations in Visakhapatnam in the late 1970s. Initially, operations involved a few helipads adjacent to the civilian airport. Over time, the area was transformed into a full-fledged naval air station with dedicated hangars, maintenance facilities, and an operations complex. In 1991, INS Dega was formally commissioned, solidifying its place as a crucial node for the Indian Navy’s aerial operations.