Wheeler Island & Charbatia Air Base — This Odisha Day, Know What Matters!

The first day of April each year is celebrated as Odisha Day. While the screen is rich in culture and diversity, the creation of the state saw a 30-year long struggle after which the new province was made on the basis of language. Since its inception in 1936, Odisha has undergone huge development in every sector. Even in defence, Odisha holds an important diplomatic as well as strategic position.

Odisha is also the hiding base of some secret and highly specialized military bases. The locations of these bases aren’t known as well as aren’t accessible owing to their importance for national security.

Charbatia Airbase

It is a highly specialized aerial reconnaissance post of intelligence agency’s aviation unit, Aviation Research Centre (ARC). Located at approx. 10 km north of Cuttack, the base was built by R&AW with the help of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The base was primarily built in the mid-’20s during the building of the defence system against China and was later used by both CIA and R&AW. The initial stages of training were given by WW2 vintage aircraft.

The base uses wings to keep a check on the movement of targets. The planes are fitted with electronic sensors and cameras that can take high altitude photos. The government also planned to convert it into a full-fledged airbase but later tossed the idea

Wheeler Island

Also known as Dr Abdul Kalam Island, this island is located approx. 10 km from the east coast of India and approx. 150 km from Bhubneshwar. Initially named after an English Lieutenant Commander Wheeler, this island is the home to an Integrated Test Range missile testing facility.

The facility is composed of Launch complex 4 and Launch complex 3, both located near Abdul Kalam Island. The development of Agni missile series began after acquiring the island for the facility. It’s mainly used for testing of missiles like Agni, Akash, Astra, Prahaar, etc. The island has main access by ship and all major heavy equipment and loads arrive by water.

The island was uninhabited when the construction of the facility began. The area is highly protected and only DRDO and military personnel are allowed to travel there.

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