by Sayan Chatterjee
IADB: It all started in 1932 as the Royal Indian Air Force under British rule, and its name was changed to Indian Air Force in 1950. On 1st April 1954, the President’s Colour was awarded to the IAF at Palam by the President (then) Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Since then, Indian Air Force Day is celebrated on October 8 every year to mark the foundation day of the formidable aerial military force of our nation.
Today, on Oct 8th, 2021, the Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrated its 89th anniversary in all elegance and discipline following all norms, to the continued efforts of keeping the pandemic situation under control. The wing of the aerial defense mechanism not only showcased its prowess and put its mainstream assets, heptrs, and advanced radio transmission systems on display at the Hindan AFS of New Delhi today, but a grand parade-cum-investiture ceremony later followed the day.
The parade on Air Force Day commenced at Hindon Air Base, with the air display of flag-bearing skydivers of the famous AKASH GANGA team dropping out of AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies. As their vocation stands, “Chatri Mata Ki Jai”. Along, the display of heritage aircraft, modern transport aircraft and frontline fighter aircraft, IAF commemorated the grand parade with their maneuvers.
The newly appointed IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane and CDS General Bipin Rawat marked their august presence at the occurrence.
Conversely, Indian Air Force personnel marched past as IAF’s helicopter display team – Sarang showcased their marvelous air display tactics. The IAF showcased its fighter aircrafts Su-30Mki and Rafale at the Hindon airbase, keeping up with the pace and setting its mark right the MiG-21s showcased the ‘Bahadur’ formation depicting the truly intimidating capability of the IAF.
The twinjet multirole air superiority fighter aircraft Su-30 Mki made its mark in a, ‘Trishul’ formation for the arena, comprising three Su-30Mki aircrafts. Streaking from the horizon, the indigenous LCA Tejas, also made quite a mark with its maneuvers like half-roll looping and others.
The Su-30Mki, also staged a Vertical Charlie, before the audience rested their pulse to mesmerizing air-display by the other display teams of the Indian Air Force. The vintage fleet of IAF also featured themselves, in formation a Dacota vintage aircraft depicting the true culture of India was flanked by two Dorniers. Not leaving much behind an old 1930 designed Tiger Moth aircraft also swayed all along at the parade for a while to commemorate the 89th IAF Day.
On the 89th anniversary of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the new CAS, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said “That the prompt action in response to the developments in Ladakh is true “testament to the IAF’s combat readiness”.
Addressing the IAF parade at the Hindan Air Force Station in Ghaziabad, CAS said, “The security environment in our region and beyond has been impacted by complex interplay of geopolitical forces. Moreover, the advent of new domains over and above the traditional domains of land, sea and air have resulted in a paradigm shift in the way military operations will be conducted hereafter”
“As our challenges continue to rise, so does our strength and resolve to ensure the best possible application of air power. When I look at the security scenario that we face today, I am acutely conscious that I have assumed command at a crucial time,” Chaudhari further added.
The Chief of Air Staff also said the IAF must show the nation that external forces won’t be allowed to violate its territory. “We must demonstrate to the nation that external forces will not be allowed to violate our territory. I pledge to do all I can to provide you with clear direction, good leadership and the best of resources that I can muster,” he expressed.
“The year gone by has been quite challenging, yet extremely rewarding. The prompt actions in response to developments in Eastern Ladakh were a testament of IAF’s combat readiness. Our efforts in completing all COVID related tasks was also a major achievement in support of the national effort” added CAS, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, Indian Air Force.
Commemorating the day, PM Modi extended his greetings to the air warriors and their families. In a tweet, PM Modi said, “The Indian Air Force is synonymous with courage, diligence and professionalism. They have distinguished themselves in defending the country and through their humanitarian spirit in times of challenges.” The tweet was backed by a trail of photographs citing the Indian Air Force in action over the years.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh shared a video on Twitter and congratulated the IAF, attributing it as “indomitable force” of India. “We are proud of our air warriors for responding to varied challenges with alacrity and resilience and being steadfast in the service to the Nation,” Singh further added.
The accomplishments have been impressive, and all our air warriors have helped achieve significant progress in many areas. The CAS thanked each of them and their immediate families for the sacrifices that they have made and continue to make, while serving in this glorious service for the nation.
The nation will continue to rely on your skills, courage, determination, and hard work in the years ahead. Remember that it is our sacred duty to protect our nation’s sovereignty and integrity at any cost and you are to do what it takes to ensure that we do not let the nation down, further reinstated CAS, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, Indian Air Force.
The theme for this year’s anniversary celebrations – “आत्मनिर्भर एवं सक्षम” is most apt; since with the ongoing acquisition of a high percentage of ‘Made in India’ platforms, weapons and combat systems, the Indian Air Force stands today on the threshold of an era which will redefine its stature as a potent Strategic Aerospace Force.
The Indian Air Force has been at the vanguard of indigenization in the domestic aerospace sector, and due to concerted efforts at all levels, a large number of low techs, low cost and high volume spares have been indigenized across all fleets.
The need of the hour stands to reassess and realign with emerging trends, in order to gain from ongoing efforts towards greater self-reliance in high tech items. The CAS was happy to share that several projects are well underway for harnessing the potential of Automation, Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence in order to transform the way we intend to counter any future warfare.
The Indian Air Force remains steadfast in its view that ‘integrated jointness’ is the way ahead. It is also a belief that the core competence of each service, indeed, of all organs of national power must be synergized to generate the desired effect and capability. Here, I wish to assure the nation of our unwavering commitment towards delivering joint capability and generating integrated response options as part of a coherent national defence strategy.
With the 89th year of glorious past, IAF today has transformed into a modern and battle-hardened Air Force with strategic reach. The Defence wing intends to persist with its great legacy of commitment and excellence.
IAF intends to look into the future with clear eyes, confronting the challenges before the nation and not forgetting the sacrifices made by their predecessors in service of the nation. IAF urged all the air-warriors to continue to serve with pride and always remain true to the hallowed values of the Indian Air Force.