National

On 86th Air Force Day, Check Out Top Unknown Facts About India's Air Warriors

ANANYA BHATNAGAR | 0
2609
| October 8 , 2018 , 13:03 IST

This October 8 marks the 86th Air Force Day. The day marks the birthday of our very own Indian Air Force.

The 4th largest in the world, the Indian Air Force was set up on October 8, 1932, in British India as an auxiliary air force to the Royal Air Force of the British.

After India gained independence from the British in 1947, the name Royal Indian Air Force was kept and served in the name of Dominion of India. With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed after only three years.

So, this Air Force Day let’s tell you some amazing facts about one of the largest and most powerful air forces of the world:-

  • Padmavati Bandopadhayay - The first woman Air Marshall of the Indian Air Force, she is the second woman in IAF to be promoted to a three-star rank. She was awarded the Vishist Seva Mandal (VSM) for her conduct during Indo-Pak War 1971 and has shown courage many times.

  • The honorary rank of the Marshal of the Indian Air Force is the highest achievable rank there is among the ranks in Air Force. This rank is equivalent to the rank of Field Marshal of the Indian Army. Only one person till date has been able to achieve this rank and the officer is Arjan Singh, who was promoted to a five-star rank.
  • With 1,380 aircraft, the Indian Air Force lags behind only U.S.A, Russia and China which makes it the 4th largest air force in the world.

  • IAF holds World record of highest landing by performing the highest landing of C-130J at Daulat Beg Oldi (Ladakh) at the height of 16614 feet.

  • Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon is the only IAF officer who has been awarded the Param Vir Chakra, in recognition of lone defence of Srinagar Air Base against PAF during Indo-Pak war 1971.

First Women Fighter Pilots

In a historic decision, the Indian Government in 2015 allowed the induction of women for combat roles in the Indian Air Force. Bhawana Kanth, Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi were inducted into the fighter stream after basic training in June 2016 on "an experimental basis" for five years initially.

Avani Chaturvedi became the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo when she flew a MiG-21 Bison in her first solo flight. She flew a MiG-21 Bison in her first training solo sortie, in Jamnagar, Gujarat in February this year.

 She is currently posted at No. 23 Squadron (Panthers). She operates on MiG 21 Bison which is one of the toughest aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

She once said, "Any air force is defined by its fighters. My dream is to become a good fighter pilot, on whom my seniors can rely when it comes to flying live operations. I want to fly the best fighter aircraft and learn more and more each day."

Bhawana Kanth hails from Darbhanga in Bihar. As a child, she always dreamt of flying planes. She opted for fighter stream after successfully completing her stage I training. Daughter of an officer in the Indian Oil Corporation, she set the goal of becoming a fighter pilot and serve the nation.

Mohana Singh comes from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Her grandfather was a flight gunner in Aviation Research Centre and father is a warrant officer in the IAF. Mohana is excited to continue the family legacy of serving the nation.