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A naval air station is a military airbase, and consists of a permanent land-based operations locations for the military aviation division of the relevant branch of a navy. These bases are populated by squadrons and their support commands.

The term "Naval Air Station" is used by many countries' navies, such as the United States Navy, Royal Australian Navy, UK's Royal Navy, Indian Navy. The French Navy use Base d'aéronautique navale or BAN (Naval aéronautics base) or commonly called aeronavale base.

Argentine Navy

The Argentine Naval Aviation operates four Base Aeronaval (BAN): from BAN Punta Indio (BAPI) in Buenos Aires Province through BAN Comandante Espora (BACE) and BAN Almirante Zar (BAAZ) in Patagonia to BAN Almirante Quijada (BARD) at Tierra del Fuego. Runways also serve domestic airlines for almost all Argentine military airbases. The Navy operates Estacion Aeronaval (EAN) (stations) which have smaller crew and normally not assigned aircraft. These includes Ezeiza, Rio Gallegos and Ushuaia.

The Argentine Naval Prefecture, serving as a Coast Guard, also operates air stations at Posadas, Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata and Comodoro Rivadavia with their aircraft been highly involved in sea rescues[1][2]

Royal Australian Navy

In Australia, there is one Naval Air Station, "NAS Nowra", HMAS Albatross, and the formal Naval Aircraft Repair Yard and apprentice training establishment at HMAS Nirimba in Schofields, Sydney.

French Navy

UK Royal Navy

The United Kingdom has two Royal Naval Air Stations (RNAS), RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron) and RNAS Culdrose (HMS Seahawk).

Until 2006, the former served as the main operating base for the Royal Navy's Sea Harriers, which were based upon the three Invincible class aircraft carriers. However, upon the withdrawal of the BAe Sea Harrier in that year, no strike aircraft operated from there. It is believed that all of their successors will be based at RAF Lossiemouth. The site also contains the Royal Naval Air Museum, that showcases a variety of aircraft from the Royal Naval Air Service (1914–1918) until the present day. RNAS Yeovilton also has RNAS Merryfield as its training and satellite station.

RNAS Culdrose serves a variety of helicopter and fixed-wing squadrons, such as the Sea King and the Jetstream respectively. Among the features at RNAS Culdrose include the 'Dummy deck' to train pilots about landing on ships, the Merlin training facility, and Fleet Requirements Air Direction Unit. Its satellite airfield is RNAS Predannack.

United States Navy

In the United States, a "Naval Air Station" is an air base of the United States Navy. When located in foreign countries, they are often identified as US Naval Air Stations (USNAS), as the term is used by the navies of other countries.

A slightly lower level of air base in the U.S. Navy is the Naval Air Facility. These facilities normally support smaller numbers of naval aircraft. Permanently based naval aircraft are usually minimal, with the principal focus being on supporting naval aircraft deployed from other installations. Examples are NAF Atsugi, Japan; NAF Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory; NAF El Centro, California; NAF Washington at Andrews AFB, Maryland; NAF Souda Bay, Crete; NAF Misawa at the U.S. Air Force's Misawa AB in Japan; and NAF Mildenhall at the U.S. Air Force's RAF Mildenhall installation in the United Kingdom. Base Realigment and Closure (BRAC) actions in the past few years have resulted in closure of Naval Air Facilities such as NAF Detroit at Selfridge ANGB, Michigan; NAF Lajes at the U.S. Air Force's Lajes AB facility in the Azores; NAF Kadena at the U.S. Air Force's Kadena AB, Japan; NAF Adak, Alaska; and NAF Midway northwest of Hawaii.

There are also a number of former Naval Air Stations that have been realiged as part of larger Naval Stations (NAVSTA) or redesignated to other functions in the Navy. This includes the former NAS Norfolk, Virginia (now part of NAVSTA Norfolk), the former NAF Mayport, Florida (now part of NAVSTA Mayport), the former NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (now part of Naval Station Guantanamo|NAVSTA Guantanamo); and the former NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey (redesignated as Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst). In the case of NAS Memphis, Tennessee (redesignated as Naval Support Activity Mid-South), the airfield and flight line was turned over to local civilian authorities, while the Navy retained the remainder of the installation.

There are also larger facilities that are similar to Naval Air Stations and possess large airfield facilities, but were actually constructed as part of much larger facilities or were dedicated to research and development activities. This includes NAVSTA Rota, Spain; the recently closed NAVSTA Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico; Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, California; and the recently closed Naval Air Development Center Warminster, Pennsylvania.

As part of Naval Aviation, Marine Corps Air Stations and Marine Corps Air Facilities fill a similar role as Naval Air Stations for the United States Marine Corps. Marine aviation units are also assigned to Naval Air Stations, Naval Air Facilities and, in rare cases, to Air Force Bases and Air National Guard Bases as well. The United States Coast Guard is also part of Naval Aviation and operates its own Coast Guard Air Stations and Coast Guard Air Facilities, either as stand alone installations on civilian airports or Coast Guard-controlled facilities, or collocated at Naval Air Stations, Air Force Bases, Air National Guard Bases and Army Air Fields.

The first naval air station was at Greenbury Point, at the mouth of the Severn River near Annapolis, Maryland.

See also


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