About Indian Navy

About Indian Air Force

Brief History

The Indian Air Force (IAF) was established as the ''Royal Indian Air Force'' by the passing of the Indian Air Force act on October_8 1932. Accordingly, IAF's Number 1 Squadron came into being on April_1 1933. Initially, the IAF consisted of five fighter pilots, one RAF commanding officer and four ''Westland Wapiti Biplanes''.

The first five pilots commissioned into the Indian Air Force were H C Sircar, Subroto Mukerjee, Bhupendra Singh, A B Awan and Amarjeet Singh. A sixth officer, S N Tandon had to revert to Ground duties as he was too short. All of them were commissioned as ''Pilot Officers'' in 1933. Subroto Mukerjee later went on to become the IAF's first Indian Chief of Air Staff. Subsequent batches inducted before World_War_2 included Aspy Engineer, K K Majumdar, Narendra, R H D Singh, S N Goyal, Baba Mehar Singh, Prithpal Singh and Arjan Singh.

In 1991 the government approved the induction of women into nontechnical air force officer billets, such as administration, logistics, accounting, education, and meteorology. In 1992 opportunities for "pioneer women officers" were opened in the areas of transportation, helicopters, and navigation, and the first group of thirteen women cadets entered the Air Force Academy. During their flight training, they qualified on HPT-32 and Kiran aircraft to earn their air force commissions. After completing ten months' training, five of the seven successful course graduates received further training on various transport aircraft. By 1994, there were fifty-five women officers in the air force.

In 1994 it had 110,000 personnel and 779 combat aircraft. The air force, which is headquartered in New Delhi, is headed by the chief of air staff, an air chief marshal. He is assisted by six principal staff officers: the vice chief of air staff, the deputy chief of air staff, the air officer in charge of administration, the air officer in charge of personnel, the air officer in charge of maintenance, and the inspector general of flight safety.

The Indian air force was equipped with twenty-two squadrons of ground attack fighters. Five of these squadrons had a total of eighty-nine British Jaguar aircraft. Another five squadrons had 120 Soviet-origin MiG-27 aircraft. The air force also fielded twenty fighter squadrons, two of which were equipped with a total of thirty-five French-built Mirage 2000 H/TH aircraft. There were also twelve squadrons of transport aircraft in the inventory. Because of the large number of Soviet-origin aircraft, the air force is dependent on Russia for spare parts and equipment and weapons upgrades. In March 1995, Russia agreed to upgrade India's MiG-21 aircraft.

Aside from the Training Command at Bangalore, the center for primary flight training is located at the Air Force Academy at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, followed by operational training at various air force schools. Advanced training is also conducted at the Defence Services Staff College; specialized advanced flight training schools are located at Bidar, Karnataka, and Hakimpet, Andhra Pradesh (also the location for helicopter training). Technical schools are found at a number of other locations.

Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force (IAF) today, having completed more than six decades of dedicated service to the nation, is a modern, technology-intensive force distinguished by its commitment to excellence and professionalism. Keeping space with the demands of contemporary advancements, the IAF continues to modernise in a phased manner and today it stands as a credible air power as the nation marches into the next millennium.

With the ever escalating costs of operations, great emphasis is being placed on cost effective training, reducing expenditure, optimising output and minimising wastage. The Air Force has implemented a number of measures to enhance the quality of life of its personnel in Key welfare areas of housing, education and hostel facilities.

In addition to the traditional wartime roles of the IAF of counter air, counter surface, strategic and combat support operations, the Air Force has provided significant aid to civil authorities during natural calamities like the Gujarat cyclone and the Malpa tragedy. The Siachen glacier lifeline continues to be monitored by the Indian Air Force, fully supporting the Indian Army in fighting on the world’s highest battlefield. The IAF has also provided aid to civil authorities for the large scale movement of military and para military personnel to maintain law and order as well as to cater for the needs of a large number of airmen and jawans in remote and inaccessible outposts.

IAF Commands

The Indian Air Force has seven commands, of which five are operational and two functional, namely :

  • HQ Central Air Command, Allahabad;
  • HQ Eastern Air Command, Shillong;
  • HQ Western Air Command, New Delhi;
  • HQ Southern Air Command, Trivendrum;
  • HQ South-Western Air Command, Gandhi Nagar;
  • HQ Maintenance Command, Nagpur; and
  • HQ Training Command, Bangalore.

The Indian Air Force is divided into the following broad categories :

- Flying operations;
- Maintenance & Logistics;
- Administration; and
- Training.