Indian Air Force Day 2021: The Indian Air Force was officially formed on 08 October 1932. Its first aircraft flight came into existence on 01 April 1933. It had 06 officers and 19 air soldiers (literally air warriors) trained by the Royal Air Force. In this then 04 Westland Vapi IIA aircraft were included.
After 4.5 years of the formation of the Air Force, the Air Force carried out the first operation. Then the Indian Air Force took part in a battle for the first time with Miranshah in North Waziristan to assist the Indian Army in operations against the rebel Bhittani tribesmen. However, by the Second World War, the strength of the Indian Air Force was increasing. Its personnel had risen to 16 officers and 662 airmen.
The Indian Air Force is now considered the fourth-strongest Army in the world. It has done many massive campaigns till now. Its motto is taken from the Gita, which is “Nabhah sparsham deeptam”. Which means- touching the blue sky with pride.
When it started on 08 October 1932, then it was kept as an auxiliary force. That is, it used to work as an additional force which was to help the British Army. However, within a few years, its existence was completely different, and it proved both capability and strength very well.
Before independence, the Indian Air Force was known as the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF). After independence, when the entire republic came into force, the word Royal was dropped, and only the Indian Air Force remained. Before independence, the Air Force came under the Army, credited to Air Marshal Sir Thomas W. Elmhurst for creating a separate branch. The first Indian Chief was Chief Marshal Subroto Mukherjee.
The Indian Air Force currently has 07 commands. Its headquarter is in Delhi. The order of its posts is the same as it used to be in the Royal Air Force. At its lowest rank is the Flight Cadet. Above that is the Flying Officer, Flying Lieutenant, Squadron Leader, Wing Commander, Group Captain, Air Commodore, Air Vice Marshal, Air Marshal, Air Chief Marshal. In fact, the Air Chief Marshal is the head of the Air Force. In the history of the Air Force, the post of Marshal was created only once in the highest position.
There are 5 operational and 2 functional commands in the 7 commands of the Air Force. These are Headquarters Maintenance Command, Nagpur, Headquarters Training Command, Bengaluru, Headquarters Eastern Air Command, Shillong, Headquarters Western Air Command, New Delhi, Headquarters Central Air Command, Allahabad, Headquarters Southern Air Command, Thiruvananthapuram and Headquarters South-Western Air Command, Gandhi Nagar.
The flag of the Air Force is of blue color, with the National Flag in the first part and a circle made of three colors of the National Flag in the middle. The insignia of the flag is different from the insignia of the Air Force.
The strength of the Air Force has come to the fore in many wars. Such as Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Operation Pawan make it very special among the world’s airforces. Along with this, a new form of the Air Force has been seen many times. Even during natural calamities or human-caused troubles. Whether it is to rescue people trapped in Yemen or save people during the Kedarnath disaster, the force has done wonders every time. By running a relief mission during the floods in Kedarnath, the Air Force set a world record by airlifting more than 20,000 civilians.
Women also contributed a lot to the Air Force. Padmavati Bandopadhyay was the first woman Air Marshal. Now women pilots and fighter pilots are also being included in this. The first female fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force is Flight Lieutenant Bhavna Kant.
Now there is 1.39,576 personnel in the Indian Air Force as of 01 July 2017. The head of the Air Force is the Air Chief Marshal, who is currently VR Choudhary. Air Chief Marshal is a 4-star officer. There has been only one Marshal in the history of the Indian Air Force so far, was Arjan Singh, who was a 5-star rank officer.
If the Indian Air Force has indigenously made fighter jets and aircraft, then Russian, British, French, Israeli, and American also made fighter jets. Recently, the world’s best fighter aircraft Rafale has joined the Indian Air Force, due to which its power has increased tremendously in the air. How many aircraft does the Indian Air Force have? There have been speculations about its number. International organization Flight International estimates that the Indian Air Force should have 1750 aircraft, while the International Institute of Strategic Studies believes that this number is 1850. Both the organizations have agreed that it has 900 combat capability aircraft.