February 8, 2023 5:14 am

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IAF Celebrates Its Historic 90th Raising Day

The parade that was moved from New Delhi to Chandigarh was in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s guidance of taking major government functions across all states in India so that more people could witness and engage with it.

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The Indian Air Force is celebrating its historic 90th Raising day on 8th October 2022. For the first time in its history, the event was held outside New Delhi in the city of Chandigarh.

A ceremonial parade was held at the Air Force Station on Saturday morning in Chandigarh, followed by a majestic aerial show and fly past over the Sukhna Lake in the afternoon. President Droupadi Murmu and Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh were also present during the occasion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually greeted the force on its founding day.

Air Chief Marshal V.R Chaudhari also unveiled a new combat uniform for the personnel of IAF.

While addressing the parade at the IAF station in Chandigarh,ACM Chaudhari said that “We’ve inherited the proud legacy curated by sheer hard work, perseverance & vision of our predecessors. Right to acknowledge the contribution of our veterans who chartered this course. Now the onus is on us to usher IAF into the centenary decade.

ACM Chaudhari called the Agnipath recruiting scheme a challenging task but also called it an opportunity to harness the potential of India’s youth & channelize it toward the service of the nation. Under the scheme, the recruitment of women Agniveers will start next year and for that infrastructural development is in progress.

The fly-past commenced in the late afternoon with an ‘Aakash Ganga’ team of paratroopers in an AN-32 aircrafts and  IAF’s Mi 17 V5 helicopter performing a fire fighting operation using a ‘bambi bucket’. This demonstration was followed by Chinook helicopters demonstrating their combat capability and their spectacular ‘tailover’ maneuver over the Sukhna lake. 

Subsequently, a series of aircrafts including both vintage and modern ones showed IAF’s historic 90 year journey.

IAF’s vintage aircraft Harvard and Dakota made an appearance in the air show. 

The Eklavya formation was formed by Mi35 attack helicopters ,Apache and ALH Rudra helicopters.

C130J super Hercules and 4 Sukhoi 30 MKIN formed the Vajrang formation

Netra formation displayed by one Airborne Early Warning and Control System(AEWCS) aircraft, two Sukhoi 30 MKI and two MiG 29 fighter aircrafts.

Netra formation

The missing man formation or the Sekhon formation was formed by Rafale, Jaguar, Tejas and Mirage 2000. This formation is dedicated to the IAF officer and Param Vir Chakra recipient, late Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon.

The Surya Kiran aerobatic team stole the show during the parade with their acrobatic maneuvers and formations.

Why is this Air Force day Historic

Apart from being the 90th establishment day, this year the parade will move out from the national capital to the city of Chandigarh. The move is in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s guidance of taking major government functions across all states in India so that more people could witness and engage with it.

It will also give an opportunity to students from schools and colleges in other parts of the country to be part of it. The force will be able to showcase its prowess across the country.

Journey of IAF

From 8th October 1932 to  1st April 1954

The dates, mentioned above, are landmarks in the history of the Indian Air Force. On 8 October 1932, the Indian Air Force came into being, and on 1st April 1954 Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee, one of the founding members of the Air Force took over as the first Indian Chief of Air Staff.

During this period, the force took part in one of the most intense and bloodiest wars, the second world war. The IAF lent its support to the UK during the war. KK Majumdar, one of the legendary heroes of the Indian Air Force was rated one of the twelve best pilots of the Allied Air Forces. In 1947, India attained freedom followed by the formation of the Indian Air Force.

The Period from 1955-1971

The period saw IAF working on increasing its overall combat power and entering into a new era with the acquisition of jet aircraft. The period also saw the two Indo-Pak wars, both of which were marked by the neutralization of Pakistani Air efforts by the Indian Air Force. The IAF also contributed to the UN Peacekeeping mission in Congo with dedication and commitment.

The Period from 1972-1990

This period is also known as the period of progress for the IAF. The Force undertook massive upgrading of its aircraft and equipment. As part of the process, the Indian Air Force introduced over twenty new aircraft types. Jaguars and several variations of the MiG were among the aircraft introduced to replace the Dakotas and the Packets. The MiG is a revolutionary aircraft that was introduced to the Indian fleet in the eighties.

The same period also witnessed a number of world records set by Indian Air Force personnel. Sqn Ldr Makkar and Flt Lt RTS Chinna set a world record by bombing from their Mi-17 helicopter in Ladakh at an altitude of 5050 meters. Sqn Ldr Sanjay Thapar was the first Indian to para jump over the South Pole. Exploring new vistas, Sqn Ldr Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian cosmonaut to venture into outer space as part of an Indo-Soviet space program.

The Period From 1990 to Present Time

This period is historic as for the first time women were inducted into the Air Force for short service commission(SSC) for the first time.

Operation Safed Sagar was one of the most challenging and unique operations conducted by the IAF during the Kargil war. No air force in the world had before successfully carried out such a complicated operation at such heights.

During the war, an air attack was launched and won at an unprecedented height, under hostile climatic conditions against an invading enemy. The Indian Air Force also participated in the peacekeeping mission in Somalia as a humanitarian operation.

The Airforce also witnessed its indigenization during this period. With the induction of LCA Tejas, the force has taken a step towards the Atmnirbharta in the defense sector.

The airforce is now looking at a homegrown solution to transform itself into a modern aerospace force, a prime example being LCH Prachand(which was inducted earlier on 3rd October 2022). In the future, many indigenous sophisticated aircraft are to be inducted into the force which will be an important step in the direction of the strategic autonomy of India. 

The IAF has been a potent fighting force for India. In continuation of this trail blaze glory, the IAF will continue to serve as a deterrent to India’s adversaries and at the same time will continue its humanitarian and disaster relief operations in the country as well as around the world.

Shubham Joshi
Shubham Joshi
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