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Hercules Squadron in Panagarh, West Bengal

The Indian Air Force has now decided to deploy its additional six C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft at Panagarh in West Bengal-- the likely location of a proposed Army Mountain Corps headquarter-- and not in Odisha.

The IAF was earlier planning to deploy the six aircraft in Charbatia in Odisha and an announcement in this regard was made by IAF in a press conference on October 3.

"We already have an air field under the Eastern Air Command there in Panagarh and now it has been decided that the additional six C-130Js would be deployed there," IAF officials said.

The six aircraft would be used by the IAF for looking after the requirements in the Northeast and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, they said.

The first six C-130Js, procured at a cost of around USD one billion, have been deployed in Hindon air base near here and have already started taking part in special operations.

The IAF has already sent a Letter of Request (LoR) to the US government for acquiring another six aircraft.

Officials said representatives from Lockheed Martin-- the American manufacturer of these aircraft-- have already carried out a survey of the location for developing the infrastructure for these aircraft.

The C-130J Super Hercules aircraft were used extensively by the IAF for carrying out relief operations during the Sikkim earthquake.

They have already created the record for the longest flight when they air dropped a contingent of Indian Army Special Forces in Andaman and Nicobar Islands after taking off from Hindon air base.

The Army has proposed to raise a new Mountain Corps for deployment in the Northeast and Panagarh is likely to be its headquartering location.

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