Established on the 8th of October 1932, the Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrates its 87th founding day today. It is a day to commemorate the valour of our Air Force pilots and the several victories written under India’s name by the Indian Airforce.
The IAF ranks at the fourth position amongst the most powerful air force in the world after the United States, Russia and China. The President of India serves as the Supreme Commander of the IAF.
The Major operations executed by the IAF over the years are:
The annexation of Goa (1961):
After years of disagreements between New Delhi and Lisbon, the Indian government decided to attack the Portuguese colonies of Goa in 1961. The IAF provided support to the on-ground troops in the Operation Vijay. The IAF carefully bombed the runway of Dabolim airfield and avoided any harm to the Terminals and the ATC tower.
The IAF’s response to Pakistan’s Operation Gibraltar in Jammu and Kashmir became a historic win for India. The IAF also raided several Pakistan Air Force (PAF) bases inside Pakistan Territory, IAF’s Folland Gnats performed exceptionally against the F-86 Sabres of the PAF.
Bangladesh Liberation War (1971)
In 1971, the PAF attacked multiple IAF installations in Srinagar, Ambala, Sirsa, Halwara and Jodhpur, and India was forced to declare war upon Pakistan. India was quick to retaliate, within the first two weeks, the IAF had 2,000 sorties over East Pakistan while also providing close air cover for the Indian army on the ground.
While on the west side, the IAF shattered 20 Pakistani tanks, four APCs and a supply train during the Battle of Longewala.
Operation Meghdoot (1984)
In 1984, the IAF carried out the Mghdoot Operation to capture the Siachen glacier from the contested Kashmir region. IAF’s Mi-8, Chetak and Cheetah helicopters airlifted hundreds of Indian troops to the Siachen glacier.
Operation Pawan (1987)
In 1987, the IAF contributed for the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in northern and eastern Sri Lanka in the Operation Pawan. Operation Pawan was a symbol of unmatched expertise of the IAF. The IAF’s transport and helicopter force executed around 70,000 sorties to support almost 1,00,000 troops and paramilitary forces. The IAF managed to pull off the operation without losing a single aircraft or aborting the mission.
Operation Safed Sagar (1999)
In 1999, the IAF was asked to support the Indian armed forces in the Kargil battle. The initial strikes had the Air Defence versions of the MiG-21s and MiG-29s providing fighter cover. Mi-17 gunships were also deployed in the Tololing sector. The IAF also used Mirage-2000s and Mig-25R during the operation.
Balakot Airstrikes (2019)
Previously this year, in an attempt to avenge our fallen soldiers during the Pulwama attack, the Indian government led IAF attacked the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26. Twelve Mirages were employed for the secretive Operation Bandar.