The Indian Air Force (IAF) is to inaugurate a new airbase a 100 kilometers from the border with Pakistan in Rajasthan on Tuesday. The Forward Operating Base is located at Phalodi. While no squadrons are expected to be stationed there at the moment, IAF sources indicate the base will house two squadrons of possibly MiG-21 Bison and MiG-29 aircraft, besides helicopters.
According to an IAF statement, “The airbase located between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur will straddle the distance between the two airbases.” The IAF also said the government approved the setting up of the base in April 2000.
This is being considered by many to be the IAF’s first brand new airbase in the past two decades. According to sources, the purpose of this base is to plug the residual air defense gap in Rajasthan, which already has five other airbases, at Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Suratgarh and Bikaner. OF the above, Jaisalmer does not have any fighter squadrons permanently based there.
While the IAF has been refurbishing and reopening airfields and Advanced Landing grounds last year in Jammu and Kashmir (Nyoma, Fukche and Daulat Beg Oldie) and the north-east (Vijaynagar) at the base at Phalodi is entirely new and has the requisite infrastructure to operate as a fully functional airbase.
StratPost has also been informed that another base between the Gujarat and Rajasthan border region is likely to come up soon.