Project Seabird

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 29, 2022, 14:11

The Karwar Naval Base Project Seabird is the country's largest naval infrastructure project aimed at providing fleet support and warship maintenance. On June 24, 2021, Defense Secretary Rajnath Singh visited the Karwar Naval Base in Karnataka to see the progress of infrastructure development under the "Project Seabird".

With Admiral Karanbir Singh, Navy Commander-in-Chief, Shri Rajnath Singh conducted an aerial survey of the project area and site.

What is Project Seabird?

This is a naval infrastructure project involving the establishment of a naval base in Karwar (Karnataka) on the west coast of India. Approved by then-Secretary of Defense George Fernandez after Pokhran-II in 1999, it is intended to provide fleet support and warship maintenance.

The first phase of the naval base, called Project Seabird, was completed in 2005 and the second phase began in 2011. The construction of a naval airbase is one of the main highlights of the second phase. AECOM Architectural Engineering Construction Operations and Management directs and oversees the planning, design, contracting, construction, and acceptance of all work, including the construction of new Navy Air Bases.

About the Construction of Project Seabird

A 3,000-foot runway, a docking area for 30 warships, and an aircraft hangar are part of this 19,000 rupee core project spanning 11,000 acres of land. Other excellent facilities at the base are:

  • Shipyard-specific repair and maintenance facilities (piers, shipyards, seawalls, quays, etc.)
  • Covered drivers for ships and submarines
  • Advanced safety and communication systems
  • Navy Air Base with various supply systems, and housing and housing estates in several locations
  • This project raises some technical and environmental challenges due to the partially undulating terrain.

Project Seabird - Background

Due to the busy routes of commercial transport, fishing vessels, and tourists, the Indian Navy faced safety issues with the western fleet of Mumbai Port during the 1971 Indian-Pakistan War. War sites such as Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur, and Thoothukudi have been rated as bases on the west coast. In the early 1980s, then Admiral Oscar Stanley Dawson envisioned his naval base between the steep hills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea near Karwar in Karnataka.

Due to being situated south of Mumbai, close to the Goa naval base, and north of Kochi, it has great advantages. It is out of reach for most attack aircraft from neighbouring countries and is close to the world's busiest sea route between the Persian Gulf and East Asia. It also provided a natural deep seaport and considerable land area for expansion, allowing larger aircraft carriers to dock.

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Importance of Project SeaBird

Upon completion of the $ 3 billion program and efforts over the last decade, the Indian Navy will have the largest naval base on the west coast. The newly expanded Navy Complex will be able to support several large warships, at least 30 ships, submarines, and shipyard boats. It houses state-of-the-art naval air force bases and maintenance departments.

Karwar is a coastal town that attracts tourists. The Navy Air Base, along with the Private Terminal Project, is contributing to the growth of destinations as part of Project Sea Bird. It strengthens the country's trade, economic and humanitarian aid and adds more influence to the Indian Navy.

Project Seabird Phase II

The Seabird project involves building a naval base on an area of 11,169 acres. Phase I included the construction of deep seaports, breakwater dredging, communities, marine hospitals, shipyard lift centres, and boat lifts. It was completed in 2005. Phase II of Project Seabird was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Safety in 2012.

In particular, Project Seabird envisions expanding facilities and installing new naval airbases to accommodate additional warships. INS Kadamba is currently India's third-largest naval base and is projected to become the largest naval base in the Eastern Hemisphere upon completion of Expansion Phase II. INS Vikramaditya, the only aircraft carrier in the Navy, is based in Karwar. The base is also equipped with the country's first sea shipping facility, a unique "ship lift", and a forwarding system for docking and undocking ships and submarines.

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FAQs on Project Seabird

Q.1.What is INS Vikrant about under Project Seabird?

The aircraft carrier INS Vikrant under Project Seabird, which will be commissioned in 2022, is a brilliant example of the Navy's willingness to become independent.

Q.2. What is Sagar about under Project Seabird?

SAGAR was launched in 2015 under Project Seabird. This is India's strategic vision for the Indian Ocean Territory (IOR). The Navy continues to strengthen relations between India and its neighbours with a focus on "SAGAR" (safety and growth of all people in the region).

Q.3. What other activities are conducted under Project Seabird?

The Indian Navy fights Covid 19 (Operation Samdrasetsu I and II), from rescuing stranded Indians from affected countries to procuring critical equipment, like oxygen cylinders, from abroad such other activities are conducted under Project Seabird.

Q.4. What is INS Kadamba under Project Seabird?

INS Kadamba is an integrated naval base in Binaga Bay near Karwar, Karnataka, on the west coast of India. Codenamed Project Seabird, the first phase of base construction was completed in 2005.

INS Kadamba is currently India's third-largest naval base and is expected to become the largest naval base in the Eastern Hemisphere once Phase IIB expansion is complete. The base corresponds to the operational fleet of the Western Fleet and can reduce traffic at the existing naval base in Mumbai.

It is the third naval base in India after Mumbai and Visakhapatnam.

Q.5. What is INS Shardul under Project Seabird?

INS Shardul under Project Seabird was the first warship to be commissioned to INS Kadamba in 2007.