Punjab-based fighter squadron among four IAF units to be honoured by President : The Tribune India

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Punjab-based fighter squadron among four IAF units to be honoured by President

In IAF, Standards are presented to flying units while Colours are presented to static establishments

Punjab-based fighter squadron among four IAF units to be honoured by President

The IAF SU-30 and the Tejas aircraft during a public display over Chandigarh. Photos by the writer



Vijay Mohan

Chandigarh, February 23

A frontline fighter squadron operating the Su-30 aircraft based in Punjab is among the four IAF units, including another fighter outfit, that would be presented the President’s Standards and President’s Colours. 

The Standards will be conferred on No. 221 Squadron based at Halwara and No. 45 Squadron based at Salur, while the Colours will be awarded to No. 11 Base Repair Depot located at Nasik and 509 Signals Unit, by President Draupadi Murmu at the Hindon Airbase on March 8.

In the IAF, Standards are presented to flying units while Colours are presented to static establishments, and are considered one of the greatest honours bestowed upon them in recognition of their service rendered to the nation, both during war and in peace.

Also known as the 'Valiants', 221 Squadron was raised as an offensive fighter unit on February 14, 1963, at Barrackpore, with Squadron Leader N Chatrath as the first commanding officer.

It was initially equipped with the Supermarine Spitfire and de Havilland Vampire aircraft and then operated the Russian Su-7 from January 1968 till February 1979. Thereafter it converted to the MiG-23 BN strike aircraft, which were phased-out in March 2009 and the squadron was ‘number-plated’, meaning disbanded. In April 2017, it was resurrected with the Su-30 MKI.

The squadron’s Su-7 aircraft saw action during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War over Bangladesh. It also took active part in the 1999 Kargil conflict, with its MiG-23 being among the first aircraft to engage ground targets in the icy heights.

No. 45 Squadron, called the Flying Daggers, is the first IAF unit to be equipped with the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft. It had shot into limelight for shooting down a Pakistani Atlantique recce aircraft over the Kutch region in August 1999 in the aftermath of the Kargil war. It was then equipped with the MiG-21 fighter and deployed at Naliya Airbase.

Raised on February 15, 1957 with de Havilland Vampires for undertaking ground-attack and close air support roles, the squadron moved on to the MiG-21FL in February 1966 and operated from the Chandigarh Airbase till July 1973.

It was re-equipped with the MiG-21’s Bis version in April 1982, which it operated till December 2002 when it was number-plated. In July 2016, the Flying Daggers were re-raised with the Tejas at Bangalore, and two years later moved to its present base at Salur.

During the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War, the squadron was called upon for air support against a Pakistani counter-attack and twelve Vampire fighter-bombers were successful in slowing the Pakistani advance, though it too suffered some losses.

The 11 BRD at Ojhar in Nashik, is the IAF’s only fighter aircraft repair depot and undertakes maintenance and overhaul of Soviet/Russian origin aircraft such as the MIG-29 and Su30. It was established in 1974 and is also involved with these aircraft’s upgradation projects.

The Signals Units of the IAF as associated with communication, airspace monitoring, surveillance and intelligence gathering.

 

 

 

#Indian Air Force


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