History Of The Indian Air Force History Essay
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
Under British India, Indian Air force was established on October 8, 1932 as an assistant air force of the Royal Air force by adopting it uniforms, badges, brevets and insignia. On 1 April 1933, No.1 Squadron formed at Drigh Road in Karachi, on 1 April 1933. This squadron consisted of 6 Indian officers who worked under British Flight Lieutenant and four Westland Wapiti biplanes in it. In June 1938, No. 1 Squadron apparently became full in strength, which of officer to 16 and 662 airmen and this was the sole formation by the World War II. IAF continued to grow it squadrons to 7 in 1943 and 9 in 1945. IAF’s first airstrike was on Japanese military base in Arakan. In 1947, after getting independence IAF was called as Royal Indian Air Force and the some squadrons got transferred to Royal Pakistan Air Force. Second World War has raised the RIAF personnel strength to 28500. In 1950, as India became republic name has again changed to IAF. Indian Air force is the fourth largest Air force in the world.
IAF in World War II
During World War II, IAF played an important role by its first air strike on Japanese army, in Arakan Burma. IAF blocked the advancement of Japanese military. IAF continued its striking on Japanese airbases at Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in northern Thailand. During the war, IAF has increased number of its aircraft and personnel. Young cadets were sent to Japan to get trained as pilots by Subash Chandra Bose. During World War II, IAF was named as Royal Indian Air Force
Partition of India, 1947
In 1947, as India got independence and India and Pakistan got separated. This made the separate formations, Royal Indian Air Force and new Royal Pakistan Air Force. This separation led some squadrons of IAF got transferred to RPAF. In 1950, as India became republic again RIAF got changed to IAF.
The 1947-48 Kashmir war
In this war, first time IAF has came into action independently and first IAF transport aircraft was in full time operation. Fighter squadrons also gained spotlight and experience of operating in mountainous environment. IAF continued to play important role in this war. During this war, IAF personnel performed most brilliant military campaigns in the historye. IAf also moved its troops into critical battles and provided extensive combat support in uncharted areas to turn the ride.
IAF in Congo, 1960
By this time Belgium war congo. The rule over it was ended, absorbing the nation in spreading violence and rebellion. Unable to control this worst situation, Belgium seeked UN for assistance. India played important role in contributing to UN peace operations and IAF sent its Canberra aircrafts as the part of UN led mission.
1962 Indo-China war
In 1962, in the spate a number of increasingly violent border clashes, China launched a sudden assault on Indian military ground positions in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The IAF was called to counter-attack the Chinese raid and to supply troops fighting near the Sino-Indian border. However, the military and civilian leadership failed to organize and co-ordinate the air assaults efficiently.
Bangladesh Liberation war 1971
In this war, air force has played an vital role, first time Bangladesh people faced the power of Air force. Eastern Air Command of IAF faced the Pakistan Air Force. Pakistan faced the force which is 12 times larger and total Bangladesh had turned unfavourable to Pakistan. On November 22, 1971 first air combat took place between Pakistan Air force and combined India Bangladesh air force. During this combat PAF operated three F-86s, two of them were shot down and pilots of those aircrafts were prisoned in India. IAF also lost their Su-7 and six Hunters. Helicopter fleet of the IAF played key role in two major operations, first forces of India caprtured Sylhet and then heliborne forces of India were transported by Mi-4 helicopters across the river Meghna and dropped in Narshingdi-Raipura area cutting the Pak Army’s line of retreat. IAF transport aircrafts on the Pakistan forces which made them sleepless. Later on December 15, Pakistan forces started surrending themselves. This was the end of air combat operations.
Kargil War 1999
Kargil war carried out nearly for four months, as it took place between May 9, 1999 when Pakistan army and militants entered and occupied Kargil and July 14,1999. Air Force entered into the war on May 11, 1999. IAF entry threatened and evaluated the enemies actions. Air Force begin combat action on May 26, which created standard battle environment and forcasted the conflict. IAF carried out all types of 5000 air combat actions with 300 aircraft and 35,000 personnel in this whole mission. This mission war carried on high terrians which special tactical skills and aircrafts has to fly above 20,000ft. IAF operated form three bases, Srinagar, Avantipu and Adampur. For ground attack it used MiG 21s, MiG 23s, MiG 27s, Jaguars and Mirage 2000. Bombing has been done acurately from above 30,000ft.
IAF currently has five operational commands which are headed by Air Officer Commander in Chief. Additional to these two operational commands to maintain a standard training and maintenance.
Western Air Command (WAC)
Eastern Air Command (EAC)
Central Air Command (CAC)
South Western Air Command (SWAC)
Southern Air Command (SAC)
Training Command (TA)
Maintenance Command (MC)
IAF operates more 60 air bases. As Western Air command is largest, it operates 16 air bases. Then Eastern Air Command operates 15 air bases. Central Air Command operates 7 air bases. Southern Air Command operates 9 and South West Air Command operates 12.
Wings are active combat air bases and it is intermediate formation between a command and a squadron. There are total of 47 wings
Squadrons are the field units and formations attached to static locations. Flying Squadrons are the field units and formations attached to static locations. Three types of Air force squadrons are Fighters, transports and helicopters. Fighters squadron consists of 32 squadrons. Transport squadron consists of 5 squadrons. Helicopter squadron contains 19 units in it.
Integrated Space Cell
The Integrated Space Cell is the nodal agency within the government Of India which oversees the security of its space based military and civilian hardware systems. The decision to setup the Space cell was taken after analyzing the threat to India’s space assets. The report by Indian Defense ministry noted that the “offensive counter space systems like anti-satellite weaponry, new classes of heavy-lift and small boosters and an improved array of Military Space Systems have emerged in our neighbourhood” referring to the Anti-satellite missile test by China. It was incorporated in June2008 under the command of the Integrated Defence Services Headquarters, and shall be responsible for co-ordination between the
The IAF has strength of 170,000 personnel and its rank structure is based on that of the Royal Air Force. Highest rank in IAF is Air Chief Marshal which holds by Chief of the Air Staff who is head of the IAF. Present Air Chief Marshal of the IAF is Pradeep Vasant Naik
To apply as officer in IAF, applicants should be Indian citizen. 16 years is the minimum age required to apply as lower level officer. Pilot officer has lowest rank. Officer ranks in IAF are Marshal of the Air force, Air Chief Marshal, Air Marshal, Air Vice Marshal, Air Commodore, Group Captain, Wing Commander, Squadron Leader, Flight Lieutenant, Flying Officer and Pilot officer.
Young men can join as an Airman in either the Technical and Non-Technical trades of the Air force. As an airman under the Technical Trades, the work involves the maintenance and testing of aircraft and flying related equipment. One will also be directly or indirectly involved in the maintenance and overhaul of ground equipment and armament. As an airman in the Non-Technical trades, the work involves assistance and support to the various functions from weather forecasting to maintenance of records and files of the Indian Air Force and all its branches. As an airman in the Indian Air Force, you get the opportunity to move ahead in your ranking by moving on to specialized trades or also become an officer. Enterprising Airmen are nominated at regular intervals for the post of officers.
Recruitment and Training
According to Indian Constitution, each citizen of India has a fundamental duty to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so. Military service has been held as pleasing option many people where employment opportunity is just. Indian army and Navy have a combined recruitment organization whereas Indian Air Force has a separate recruiting organization with twelve offices. The minimum age for obtaining job in IAF is 17 years. The compulsory retirement age for officers also varies, ranging from forty-eight for army majors, navy lieutenant commanders, and air force squadron leaders and below, to sixty for army generals, navy admirals, and air force air chief marshals. On occasion a two-year extension is granted on the grounds of exceptional organizational needs or personal ability. Candidates have to meet minimum physical standards, which differ among the three services and accommodate the various physical traits of particular ethnic groups. Since 1977 recruiting officers have relaxed physical standards slightly when evaluating the only sons of serving or former military personnel both as a welfare measure and as a means of maintaining a family tradition of military service.
Types of Aircrafts
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets by dropping bombs. Fighters are small, fast, and maneuverable. Many fighters have secondary ground-attack capabilities, and some are dual-roled as fighter-bombers; the term “fighter” is also sometimes used colloquially for dedicated ground-attack aircraft. Fighter aircraft are the primary means by which armed forces gain air superiority over their opponents in battle. Since at least World War II, achieving and maintaining air superiority has been a key component of victory in warfare, particularly conventional warfare between regular armies. The purchase, training and maintenance of a fighter fleet represent a very substantial proportion of defense budgets for modern militaries.
Sukhoi Su30 MKI, MiG 29, MiG 21 are the fighter aircrafts owned by IAF. IAF operates 122 Sukhoi Su30 MKI’s, 69 aircrafts of MiG 29 and 200 aircrafts of MiG 21.
Multi role Combat Aircraft
The aircraft which are used for multi purpose attack is called multi role combat aircraft. The aircraft used as Fighter aircraft and ground attack aircraft is referred as Multi role combat aircraft. These aircrafts are also known as Strike fighter. Mirage 2000 and Tejas is a Multi role combat aircraft.
Ground attack or Bomber aircraft
Bomber is military aircraft which is used for ground attack. These aircrafts attack by dropping bombs on the ground target. MiG 27 and Jaguar are the Bomber aircraft.
These aircraft are used in training purposes. HAL HPT-32 Deepak, HAL HJT-16 Kiran, BAE Hawk are the trainer aircraft.
These aircraft are used for refueling in air, called as Aerial refueling aircraft. IAF currently operates 6 Ilyushin Il-78MKIs for aerial refueling roles.
These aircraft are used to transport military troops, weapons, vehicles and equipment. IAF operates Ilyushin Il-76, Antonov An-32, Hawker Siddeley HS 748 and Dornier Do 228. IAF also operates Boeing 737 and Embraer ECJ-135 Legacy aircraft as VIP Transports.
HAL’s cheetah, dhruv and chetak are the light utility aircrafts used by IAF. The Mil Mi-8 and Mil Mi-17 are operated by the IAF for medium utility roles. Mil Mi-35 is operated as attack helicopter.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
These are unmanned combat aircraft. These aircrafts provide air surveillance and reconnaissance. The IAF currently uses the IAI Searcher II and IAI Heron for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes. IAI Harpy serves as an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) which is designed to attack radar systems. IAF also operates the DRDO Lakshya which serves as realistic towed aerial sub-targets for live fire training.
Weapons and Ordnance
Surface to Air missiles
A guided missile launched from land or sea against an airborne target. This missile is launched from ground to destroy the target which is in the air. S-125 Pechora and the 9K33 Osa are operated by IAF. Akash is a medium range surface to air missile used by IAF
Air to Surface missiles
BetAB ShP Anti-Runway Bomb: it is a parachute retarded, rocket powered bomb
S-24 Air To Ground Rocket, is an unguided rail launched rocket with a 123kg warhead. The S-24 entered service with the IAF in the closing days of the 1971 War and has been in use by MiG-21s, MiG-23BNs and MiG-27s since then.
Carrier Bomb Light Stores Mk200-1A for Practice Bombs, is used for armament training on MiG-21s, MiG-23s and other aircraft
BAP-100-65 Runway Digger Bomb
68MM Rockets for Matra Rocket Pods
57MM Rockets for UB16 and UB32 Pods
25lb Practice Bombs
3KG Practice Bombs are used along with the Bomb Carrier
1000 pound ‘dumb’ bomb
UB32 Rocket Pod,as with UB16s, the UB32 pods can house 32 x 57mm rockets. An Mi-17 will carry as many as six of these pods in attack missions
UB16 Rocket Pod, UB16 pods house 16 x 57mm rockets. They are seen on both fixed wing as well as helicopters.
Tail Unit 1121 for fitment to a 1000lb Bomb
Tail Unit 1111 for fitment to a 1000lb Bomb
Paveway Laser Guided Bomb Kit on a 1000lb bomb
OFAB 250-270 Bomb, seen on most MiG-27s, MiG-21s and Sukhoi-30s, the OFAB 250-270 weighs about 265KG
OFAB 100-120 Bomb, seen on most MiG-27s, MiG-21s and Sukhoi-30s, the OFAB 100-120 weighs about 118KG
Kh-31A Missile on a Sukhoi-30MKI, missile being loaded on a Sukhoi-30 MKI of No.20 Squadron. The most interesting component of the Kh-31P is its dual propulsion system designed by the “Soyuz” Design Bureau in Turayevo near Moscow
Air to Air missiles
This type of missile is a guided missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. It is typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fuelled but sometimes liquid fuelled.
R-60MK [AA-8 Aphid-C], R-60 is around half the weight of western heat-seeking missiles. As a result, the warhead weighs a mere 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs.), limiting its lethality. The original model, R-60T (AA-8 Aphid-A), was developed during the late 1960s and had entered production
R-27RE1/TE1 [AA-10 Alamo-C/D], it is designed for use on fourth generation fighters such as the Mig-29 and Su-27, and now on modernized versions of the earlier MiG-series. It entered production in 1986 and is now the principal medium-range Russian air-to-air missile.
R-23R/T [AA-7 Apex -A/B], originally known as the OKB-134, the R-23 was developed in the mid-1960s for use on the Russian Air Force’s workhorse – the MiG-23 Flogger. The missile is broadly comparable with the American AIM-7E Sparrow, but with a lower range.
R-77RVV-AE [AA-12 Adder], Work on the R-77 began in 1982 and was considered quite significant and secret since it represented Russia’s first fully multi-purpose missile for both tactical and strategic aircraft for fire-and-forget employment against everything from hovering helicopter
Matra Magic II, it is an improved version of the Magic-I missile. It entered development in the late 1970s and entered service in 1985.
Matra Super 530D, retains the same general aerodynamic features and internal layout as its Super 530F predecessor, with cruciform low aspect ratio wings and cruciform aft controls.
Honors and Awards
Param Vir Chakra
Established on January 26, 1950. This award is given to those who sacrificed themselves for the country in the presence of enemy, to those who standed out in bravery. This medal is made of bronze, circular in shape and four replicas “Indian Vajras” with national emblem in centre craved on it. On the back side it is carved with Param Vir Chakra both in Hindi and English with two lotus flowers between Hindi and English. Ribbon is plain purple coloured. All personnel of Air force including all officers, men and women are eligible for this award.
Circular in shape and is made of standard silver, and is embossed on the obverse a five pointed heraldic star with the points of the star just touching the rim. Medal shall be one and three eighth inches in diameter. The State emblem is embossed in the centre-piece which is dorned. The star is polished and the centre piece is in gold gilt. On the reverse it will have embossed Maha Vir Chakra both in Hindi and English with two lotus flowers between Hindi and English. The fitting is swivel mounting. The ribbon is of a half-white and half-orange colour. This medal is awarded for the courageous behavior in battle. This is established on January 26, 1950.
The Chakra is awarded for most conspicuous bravery or some act of daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice otherwise than in the face of the enemy. It is established on January 4, 1952 and renamed on January 27, 1967. Circular in shape, one and three eighth inches in diameter with rims on both sides and will be of gold-gilt. On the obverse, it shall have embossed a replica of Ashoka’s Chakra in the centre surrounded by a lotus wreath. On its reverse shall be embossed the words “Ashoka Chakra” both in Hindi and English, the two versions being separated by two lotus flowers. Green colour ribbon divided into two equal segments by an orange vertical line.
It is established on January 4, 1952 as Ashoka Chakra class II and redesignated on January 27, 1967 as Kirti Chakra. Circular in shape and is made of standard silver, one and three eight inches in diameter. On the obverse of the medal shall be embossed a replica of Ashoka Chakra in the centre, surrounded by a lotus wreath. On its reverse shall be embossed the words KIRTI CHAKRA both in Hindi and in English the versions being separated by two lotus flowers. Green colour ribbon divided into three equal parts by two orange vertical lines. This medal is awarded to the one whom standed out in courageous behavior.
Established on January 26, 1950 and awarded to the courageous behavior acts in the presence of enemy. Circular in shape and is made of standard silver, and is embossed on the obverse a five pointed heraldic star with the points of the star just touching the rim. The State Emblem (including motto) is embossed in the centre-piece which is domed. The star is polished and the centre piece is in gold gilt. On the reverse it will have embossed Vir Chakra both in Hindi and English with two lotus flowers between Hindi and English wording. The fitting is swivel mounting. The ribbon is of half blue and half orange in colour.
Established on January 4,1952 as Ashoka Chakra class III and renamed on January 27, 1969. This medal is awarded the courageous behavior, otherwise than in face of enemy. Circular in shape and of bronze, one and three-eighth inches in diameter. On the obverse of the medal shall have embossed a replica of Ashoka Chakra in the centre, surrounded by a lotus wreath. On its reverse shall be embossed the words “SHAURYA CHAKRA” both in Hindi and English, the two versions being separated by two lotus flowers. Green colour ribbon divided into four equal parts by three vertical lines.
Other types of Medals are
Sarvottam Yuddh Seva Medal
Uttam Yuddh Seva Medal
Yuddh Seva Medal
Param Vishisht Seva Medal
ATI Vishisht Seva Medal
Vishisht Seva Medal
Vayu Sena Medal
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