Indian Air Force turns 83
On October 8, 2015, the IAF turned 83, an occasion that was celebrated with enthusiasm and pride in all its units and establishments across the nation
While the anniversary of the IAF is certainly an occasion to celebrate, it is also the time for introspection to reminisce over the past and to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead
The Indian Air Force (IAF) was officially established with the prefix ‘Royal’ on October 8, 1932, in British India with the enactment of the Indian Air Force Act the same year. Nearly six months later, the RIAF commissioned No. 1 Squadron, its very first squadron, at Drigh Road, Karachi, now in Pakistan. On its inventory, No. 1 Squadron had just four Westland Wapiti IIA biplanes and was manned by six officers five of whom were pilots, and 19 airmen, all trained by the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom. From its humble beginnings, over the last over eight decades, the IAF has grown to be the fourth largest air force in the world and today, it is a force to reckon with. On its inventory, the IAF now has over 1,400 aircraft and around 1,70,000 personnel. Since independence, the IAF has participated in the wars with Pakistan in 1965, 1971and 1999 and has always risen to the occasion providing swift response for disaster relief during natural calamity in India or abroad. It has also successfully extricated Indian nationals and citizens of other nations trapped in conflict zones in different parts of the world.
Celebrations on Air Force Day
On October 8, 2015, the IAF turned 83, an occasion that was celebrated with enthusiasm and pride in all its units and establishments across the nation ranging from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Such events help enhance amongst the general public awareness of and confidence in the capabilities of the IAF to meet with the challenges of national security. It also helps boost morale and elevate the spirits of servicemen themselves. The national hub centre of the 83rd anniversary celebrations of the IAF was Air Force Station at Hindon located on the outskirts of Delhi. The event was marked by a parade and an impressive display of aerial might of the IAF. The parade which had nearly 300 IAF personnel including women officers, was reviewed by the chief guest Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS)
and the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, who conferred awards to honour air warriors in recognition of their selfless service to the nation. No. 1 Air Force Band was in attendance.
Also gracing the occasion were General Dalbir Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, and Admiral R.K. Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff. Adding unique flavour to the event was the legendary national cricketing idol Sachin Tendulkar who has been conferred the honorary rank of Group Captain and was sporting the ceremonial uniform of the IAF. Incidentally, he is the first sportsperson in India to receive this honour!
Felicitations from Different Quarters
The IAF was felicitated on this occasion by both the President of India Pranab Mukherjee, the Supreme Commander, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The message from the President which was infinitely inspiring, read: “I am happy to know that the IAF is celebrating its 83rd anniversary on October 8, 2015. The IAF has remained in the vanguard of the Indian skies safeguarding the sovereignty of our nation all through its glorious history of over eight decades. Over the years, the IAF has evolved into a formidable force with new acquisitions and weapons of great precision. Today, the IAF is rated one of the best in the world and has acquired the capability of strategic reach and precision targeting. In today’s world order, the role of IAF is not only limited to fighting a war; but also rendering timely assistance during national crisis. On numerous occasions in the past, during natural disasters, IAF has been at the forefront providing timely succour and relief. The recent efforts of the IAF to airlift our countrymen from Yemen, rescuing people during flash floods in Srinagar and the assistance rendered to the people of Nepal during the aftermath of a massive earthquake is praiseworthy. It bears testimony to the IAF’s glorious legacy of valour, courage and commitment. The nation remains indebted to the air warriors for their selflessness and sacrifice. I am confident that the ongoing process of modernisation will transform the IAF into an even more potent and strategic force and it will continue to serve the nation with dedication and commitment. On this occasion, I extend my warm greetings and felicitations to all IAF personnel, civilians and their families. I am proud of the achievements by the IAF over the years and wish it continued success in all its future endeavours”.
The Prime Minister eulogised the IAF with his message which read, “I salute our Air Force personnel on Air Force Day. They have always served India with great courage and determination. Contribution of our Air Force is monumental. They are always at the forefront be it in protecting skies or in times of disasters”.
Not to be left behind, Honorary Group Captain Sachin Tendulkar too expressed his sentiments about the IAF. His post on the social media read: “I am proud of the dedication of the IAF. Every member plays his part to perfection. Thank you to each one of them for their commitment and many sacrifices.”
Air and Static Display
The commencement of the parade was marked by the flag-bearing skydivers of the famous Akash Ganga team of the IAF. The team
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha reviewing the parade during Air Force Day at the Hindon airbase
AIR MARSHAL B.K. PANDEY (RETD)
(Below, left-right) Indian Air Force colours Nishan Toli on march; IAF Air Warrior Drill Team displaying their alluring skills during Air Force Day parade;
(bottom, left-right) Newly raised Hawk AJT as Surya Kiran performing manoeuvres; IAF Su-30MKI escorting C-17 Globemaster III during the fly-past