Indian Air Force

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Strength and shortfall in Indian Armed Forces, officers and soldiers; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 17, 2016

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Honorary ranks in the Air Force

Sachin to be made honorary IAF group captain

Times of India

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force is set to bestow the honorary rank of a Group Captain on cricketing great Sachin Tendulkar in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a sportsperson.

Honorary ranks in the Air Force are traditionally given to people who have made outstanding achievements at the national level, especially those linked to the aviation sector. Among those who have been given similar honorary ranks in Air Force are J R D Tata and Vijayapat Singhania. Both Tata and Singhania were awarded the honorary ranks of Air Commodore.

A senior Air Force officer said the IAF headquarters has decided to give Tendulkar the honorary rank of Group Captain. “We are awaiting the government’s approval,” he said. Once the proposal is approved, Tendulkar would be formally accepted as a member of the Air Force family, but he would have no official responsibilities with the IAF.

The senior IAF officer said several eminent persons of national standing have been given the honorary rank over the years. Inducting such leaders also helps in adding to the morale of the force, he said.

Indian military has a tradition of inducting outstanding individuals as honorary officers into its ranks. Recently, cricketer Kapil Dev and southern film star Mohanlal were inducted as honourary Lieutenant Colonels in the Territorial Army.

Tendulkar’s selection by the IAF is a slight departure from Air Force’s tradition. Usually, it has given the honorary rank to people who have had some role in the aviation sector. “But there is no such hard and fast rule,” the officer said. J R D Tata had obtained the first pilot licence issued in India and later started Air India. Singhania, chairman emeritus of the Raymond group, holds several world records in hot air balloon and microlight flying.

Landing on highways= [ Dipak Dash, IAF picks 21 highway sections for landings, Oct 18 2016 : The Times of India[

21 highway stretches have been identified for use in aircraft operations

Indian Air Force (IAF) has identified 21 highway stretches across the country which can be used for aircraft operation during “operational contingencies“ and natural disaster for rescue. Some of the stretches are close to the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Some of these also fall in border states of Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. These stretches have been identified after a “detailed study“ by the IAF keeping in mind the minimum requirement for landing and take off of fighter and other aircraft in case of emergencies.

TOI in November 2015 had first reported how IAF had asked National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to share the details of its plans to upgrade the existing highways or build new ones so that necessary features can be incorporated to make certain portions function as “runways“ and allow for both landings and take-offs.

Sources said some of the stretches that have been shortlisted for such purpose are in Jaisalmer region in Rajasthan and Dwarka in Gujarat.

Medium multi role combat aircraft/Rafale

Medium multi role combat aircraft/Rafale,The Times of India

Permanent commission to three women officers

From the archives of The Times of India

IAF women officers win another job battle in HC TIMES NEWS NETWORK New Delhi: The Centre was directed by the Delhi HC on Tuesday to grant permanent commission to three women officers, who are on short service commission (SSC) with the Indian Air Force. Allowing a joint contempt plea by Wing Commander Rekha Singh and Squadron leaders Seema Nandan and Seema Dahiya against the government for non-compliance of the court’s earlier order, Justice Vipin Sanghi directed the defence ministry to grant permanent commission to them in six weeks on the basis of government’s policy in November, 2010. The court also directed the ministry to file a compliance report by May 24. The petitioners’ lawyer argued that one of the court’s benches had directed the government to frame a policy and grant permanent commission to women officers at par with their male colleagues. The lawyer submitted that the ministry had on November 19, 2010framed a policy but her clients were not given the benefit.

Pathankot: Air Force station

The Times of India Jan 03 2016

Ajay Sura

Used For Deep Strikes Into Pak

Barely 40km from the Pakistan border the Pathankot Air Force station is one of the strate gically important forward airbases of India during war and peacetime.

The station is a defen sive airfield due its proximi ty to Pakistan and vital for tactically offensive oper ations of the IAF. It provides logistic support to J&K.

The Pathankot airbase along with the airfield at Amritsar provide an essen tial operational range for deep air raids into Pakistan It houses MiG-21 Bison fighter jets and MI-25 and MI-35 attack helicopters. Be sides this, it has Pechora surface-to-air missiles, oth er air defence missiles and surveillance radars. The station witnessed many at tacks during the wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971.

During the 1965 War, Pa kistan army's commandos had raided Pathankot air base and other forwards air bases, including Adampur and Halwara, in Punjab.

In 1971, Pakistan launched an air strike on Pathankot airbase and dam aged a portion of the run way. Though IAF veterans are happy at no loss to high value assets in Friday's at tack, they are of the view that such vital airbases, lo cated in operational areas should be guarded by the Army or by specialised forces.

Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retired), former commander of the South Western Air Command, said, “Air force is a technical force. Learning lessons from such attacks, the Centreshould ensure their security by specialised forces.“

Women in the IAF

2012: Women fighter pilots

The Times of India, Jun 18 2016

Three gritty women will today give wings to the aspirations of hun dreds as they get inducted as the Indian Air Force's -and the country's -first ever women fighter pilots. Flight cadets Avani Cha turvedi of Madhya Pradesh, Mohana Singh of Rajasthan and Bhawana Kanth of Bihar, all in their early-20s, usher in a new chapter for the Indian defence forces, which have for long opposed the induction of women in combat roles.

For Mohana, whose father is a warrant officer in the IAF and grandfather served as a flight gunner at Aviation Research Centre, being a part of the defence forces was a foregone conclusion.

“I wanted to carry on the family legacy of serving the nation by being in defence and what better way than fighter-flying,“ she added.

With an aim to fly the best of the IAF's fighter aircraft, Mohana aspires to make her parents proud of her. “I dream of being a part of future combat missions, and fight for the nation when du ty calls,“ she added.

Mohana, Avani and Bhawana will be awarded the President's Commission as flying officers of the fighter combat stream by defence minister Manohar Parrikar at the Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy , Dundigal, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. They will then be posted to either the Bidar or Kalaikunda airbase to undertake “transitional“ fighter training on the Hawks, which includes learning intensive combat manoeuvres and armament firing spread over a year to ensure the rookie pilots can handle highly-unforgiving old fighters like MiG-21s or relatively new multi-role ones like Sukhoi-30MKIs and Mirage-2000s.

Though the glass ceiling in the defence forces is now being gradually broken, the Army and Navy have no plans as of now to induct women into the infantry , armoured corps or artillery, nor allow them to serve on board warships. Even in the IAF, which has 94 women pilots flying its helicopters and transport aircraft, their entry into the fighter combat stream as short-service commission (SSC) officers has been done on an “experimental basis“ for just five years.

See also

Indian Air Force: History

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