President Awards Standards to 18 Squadron and 22 Squadron

President Awards Standards to 18 Squadron and 22 Squadron 

1. The Hon’ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, has awarded the prestigious President’s Standard to No 18 Squadron and No 22 Squadron today at a grand and befitting ceremonial parade at Air Force Station Hasimara. The President’s Standard is awarded to operational Units based on their past record and achievements during peace as well as hostilities. The Commanding Officer of No 18 Squadron, Group Captain KJ Singh and the Commanding Officer of No 22 Squadron Group Captain Sandeep Singh received the Standards. The Parade was commanded by Group Captain KJ Singh, CO 18 Sqn.

2. 18 Squadron AF was formed at Ambala on 15 April 1965 with five Gnat aircraft and eleven pilots under the command of Wg Cdr AL Michael. The Squadron is endowed with a rich history and a formidable operational legacy. The Squadron took on the role of the ‘Defenders of Kashmir Valley’ during the 1971 Indo-Pak war and carried out extensive flying towards escort duties and also mounted a near continuous day time Combat Air Patrol. On 14 December 1971, fighting bravely & valiantly, alone in his Gnat, against PAF Sabres, Flying Officer NJS Sekhon laid down his life. He was decorated posthumously with the highest gallantry award of the nation, the ‘PARAM VIR CHAKRA’ for sublime heroism, supreme gallantry, flying skill and determination above and beyond the call of duty displayed in the face of certain death. 18 Squadron remains the only Squadron of the IAF with a PVC awardee. The Squadron operated an improved version of Gnat ‘The Ajeet’ from May 1980 onwards. In 1981, Sqn Ldr Rahul Dhar was awarded ‘SHAURYA CHAKRA’ for carrying out a dead stick landing after an engine seizure. The Squadron bid farewell to ‘Ajeets’ in December 1988 at Bagdogra.The Squadron was resurrected at Hindon with the formidable MiG-27 ML aircraft in June 1989, thus entering the supersonic era. In 1996 the Squadron moved from Hindon to Kalaikunda and soon after it was designated as the first dedicated Night Strike Squadron of IAF. In January 2010, Flt Lt M Arora was awarded ‘SHAURYA CHAKRA’ for recovering an aircraft after a canopy burst at an altitude of 10.5 km during a supersonic run, despite grievous injuries and hostile environmental conditions in the cockpit. The Squadron has also participated in several international exercises at Kalaikunda with the French Air Force, United States’ Air Force, Royal Singapore Air Force and Royal Air Force. In the year 2013, the Unit was additionally entrusted with the task of towing the banner target for air to air firing and on 19 September 2014 the Squadron finally moved to its present location, Hasimara. Since its inception, the ‘Flying Bullets’ has received three Shaurya Chakras, one Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry), nine Vayu Sena Medals and four Mention-in-Dispatches in addition to the Param Vir Chakra awarded to Flying Officer NJS Sekhon.

3. 22 Squadron Air Force, then called as the ‘Hell’s Angels’ was raised on 15 Oct 1966 at Air Force Station Bareilly as the eighth Gnat Squadron of the IAF. In December 1969, the Squadron moved to Kalaikunda where it was tasked for Air Defence Role during the 1971 war. Here, the Squadron drew first blood for IAF by shooting down three intruding F-86 Sabre jets in a single four aircraft mission on 22 Nov 71. Thus the ‘Hell’s Angels’ found a special niche in the history of Indian aerial combat when they proved their mettle as the most successful and destructive fighter Squadron of the IAF in the 1971 War. For its daring performance, the Squadron was re-christened as the ‘Sabre Slayers’. All three pilots who shot down the F-86 Sabres; Flt Lt MA Ganapathy, Flt Lt RA Massey and Fg Offr D Lazarus, were awarded Vir Chakras. The Squadron was awarded Battle Honours during the Indo Pak conflict of 1971 for “Air Offensive for Liberation of Bangladesh”. In April 1986, the Squadron received its official crest and was renamed as ‘SWIFTS’, the Squadron motto being “COURAGE TRIUMPHS”. In February 1990, the Squadron converted to the MiG-27 ML aircraft at Hasimara. The Squadron was deployed for Op Vijay in 1999 and for Op Parakram in 2001-02. On 08 August 2001, ‘SWIFTS’ became the first fighter Squadron to land at Lengpui airfield in Mizoram. The Squadron was relocated to Kalaikunda in the year 2012, but moved back to Hasimara in August 2014. In the recent years, the Squadron has won various air to ground gunnery competition trophies and has participated in various international exercises with foreign Air Forces thus remaining at the forefront of professional excellence. The number of honours and awards which have been bestowed on the unit and its personnel bear a testimony to this fact. The Squadron continues to render yeoman service to the nation in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force. The Commodore Commandant of 22 Sqn, Air Mshl PP Reddy Vayusena Medal ADC, CISC and Air Vice Marshal TD Joseph Vayusena Medal Vishist Seva Medal, AOC Adv HQ Pune, Commodore Commandant of 18 Sqn have graced the occasion.

4. Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vayusena Medal, Aide-de-Camp, Chief of the Air Staff and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, Air Marshal C Hari Kumar Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal BBP Sinha Air Officer-in-Charge Administration along with other senior defence and civilian dignitaries witnessed the ceremony. The President also released a First Day cover for No 18 Squadron and No 22 Squadron during the ceremony.

5. Speaking to the reporters on the sidelines of the Award Ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff welcomed the media fraternity on this momentous occasion. The Chief of the Air Staff responded large number of questions from media ranging from replacement of old weapon systems to the modernisation programme and induction of women in fighter stream in the IAF. 

Admiral R K Dhowan PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC

Chief of Naval Staff

Reviewed Passing Out Parade of

129th NDA Course at the National Defence Academy 
Admiral R K Dhowan PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC, Chief of Naval Staff, Reviewing Officer reviewed the passing out parade of 129th Course of NDA on 28th Nov 15.

A total of 338 cadets graduated from the Academy as they passed through the portals of the prestigious Khetrapal Parade Ground. It included 229 cadets from the Army 40 cadets from the Navy and 69 cadets from the Airforce.

There were 16 foreign cadets from friendly countries who also passed out from the academy. The list included four cadets each from Bhutan and Tajikistan two cadets each from Maldives, Afghanistan and Fiji and one cadet each from Ethiopia and Lesotho.

The Reviewing Officer was received by Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, AVSM, VSM Commandant, National Defence Academy at the Parade Ground.

Admiral R K Dhowan PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC, CHIEF OF NAVAL STAFF, Reviewing Officer thereafter addressed the Passing-out-Course cadets wherein he complemented the cadet for their good turnout and exceptional drill movements. He said that more than 33000 cadets have passed out of this academy and they have served the armed forces of the nation with great pride.

He said that NDA is not only a cradle of leadership but also a cradle of jointmanship. He emphasized that that no service can win a war on its own. He advised the cadets to follow the five principles of leadership i.e. commitment, courage, compassion, credibility and integrity and continue to strive for excellence.

He congratulated the cadets and parents of the Passing out course and specially the award winner. He thanked the parent for sending their children to the academy and said that the entire nation is proud of them.

He also appreciated the effort put in by the Commandant and the entire training staff at NDA for having trained such fine cadets and honed their skills.

Academy Cadet Captain PK Mohanty won the President’s Gold Medal for standing first in the overall order of merit. Battalion Cadet Captain

Abhishek Kundlia won the Silver Medal for standing second in the overall order of merit and Academy Cadet Adjutant Anmol Rawat won the Bronze medal for standing third in the overall order of merit. The ‘Panther’ Squadron bagged the prestigious ‘Chief of Staff Banner’ presented to the Champion Squadron.

A Fly-past by three Su-30 aircrafts each in VIC formation marked the culmination of this grand event. 

DRDO Organises Workshop on Disaster Management 
DRDO organised a one day workshop here today with the objective to showcase technologies and products developed indigenously by the organisation which can be readily adopted or customized for disaster management. The workshop was inaugurated by Addl Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. PK Mishra in the presence of Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Director General, DRDO Dr. S Christopher.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. PK Mishra said India has been hit by disasters frequently which were both man-made and of natural origin and the steps taken and lessons learnt from the past should be utilised and make it sustainable by using better innovations. He stated that ‘in the past the approach to disaster management was mostly relief centric but now we have to think differently and must delve more on the process of mitigation and preparedness for any kind of eventuality’. Dr Mishra further said that apart from natural calamities, cyber disaster pose a new threat in the present day situation and there is a need to address this challenge where the DRDO and other stakeholders can contribute immensely. He complimented the vital role of DRDO for its innovations and training efforts towards disaster management.

Dr. S Christopher in his keynote address said natural hazards affects nearly six percent of India’s population and 24 percent of deaths in Asia caused by disasters. He stated that DRDO has developed several technologies as an offshoot of defence research which find useful applications for disaster management. He also mentioned that the organisation will continue to be in the technological development and support mode to save precious human lives.

DRDO has in the past contributed to the various disaster management operations like Tsunami disaster in 2004, Uttarakhand flash floods in 2013 and J&K floods in 2014. Besides these, post event trauma management during tsunami disaster was also conducted by DRDO. As DRDO is developing many state-of-the art technologies, some of these can be adopted for future disaster management solutions.

The stakeholders participating in the workshop are NDMA, NDRF, MHA, Armed Forces, CRPF, CISF, NSG, NIDH and others. To showcase the products and technologies, an exhibition was also organised where eleven DRDO laboratories showcased their products and made technical presentations. Panel discussions amongst dignitaries of various stakeholders were also conducted with the objective to define trajectory of developmental activities of DRDO for future technological solutions to assist risk mitigation and preparedness against disasters. Apart from various stakeholders, several industry development partners also participated in the workshop.

DRDO’s indigenous technologies can be easily adapted towards disaster management solution by various stakeholders. The Industry partners are locally manufacturing these products and technologies are readily available. 

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