INS Kattabomman


INS Kattabomman is the designation of the VLF-transmission facility of the Indian Navy situated at Vijayanarayanam near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu.[1] The facility spread over 3,000 acres has 13 masts, which are arranged in two rings around the central mast. The centre mast has a height of 301 metres, the masts on the inner ring measure 276.4 metres, that on the outer ring measure 227.4 metres.

INS Kattabomman
Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu
INS Kattabomman.jpg
INS Kattabomman, VLF transmitting station of Indian Navy
TypeNaval station
Site information
Controlled byIndian Navy
Site history
Built1990 (1990)
In use1990–present
Garrison information
OccupantsSouthern Naval Command

Two further masts of the station carrying an umbrella antenna, the INS Kattabomman is 471 metres tall and the tallest structure in India. They are also the tallest military structure in the world. The facility opened an ELF transmission facility in 2014.[2][3]


One of the Antennas at INS Kattabomman.

Development and construction of INS Kattabomman started in 1984 as Project Skylark and costed 122 crore (equivalent to 893 crore or US$110 million in 2020).[4] It was commissioned into service by Indian President Ramaswamy Venkataraman on 20 October 1990. It is named after king Veera Pandya Kattabomman, who died during the Indian independence movement.[1]

After operationalising the base, India became the seventh country in the world to have developed the Very low frequency communication capability.[5]

Further developmentEdit

VLF upgradesEdit

On 31 July 2014, a new Very low frequency facility was inaugurated at INS Kattabomman.[6] The upgrade included digitising the control interface.[5]

Extremely low frequency facilityEdit

An Extremely low frequency communication facility is also present near the VLF facility, construction of which commenced in March 2012.[3] The facility is used by the Nuclear Command Authority to communicate with the Arihant-class of submarines.[7]

India is the second country after Russia to actively operate an Extremely low frequency facility; the United States had discontinued using it in 2004. Another such facility is proposed in Damagundam Reserve Forest (approximately at 17°16'N 77°56'E ).[8]

See alsoEdit

Indian navy
Integrated commands and units
Other topics


  1. ^ a b "INS Kattabomman". Indian Navy. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Navy gets new facility to communicate with nuclear submarines prowling underwater". The Times of India. 31 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b "India makes headway with ELF site construction". 28 February 2013. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014.
  4. ^ "VLF naval communication station INS Kattabomman commissioned in Tamil Nadu". India Today. 15 February 1991. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  5. ^ a b "New Commanding Officer for INS Kattabomman". The Hindu. 9 June 2017. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  6. ^ "VLF Transmitting Station Commissioned at Tamil Nadu". Ministry of Defence. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2019 – via Press Information Bureau.
  7. ^ Unnithan, Sandeep (10 November 2018). "Nuclear Capability: The Arihant Watershed". India Today. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  8. ^ "India to be second country to use ELF facility". The Hindu. 20 May 2017. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
8°23′13″N 77°45′10″E / 8.3870°N 77.7529°E / 8.3870; 77.7529