Rafale Acquisition deal: The much awaited Rafale deal with France was signed on 23 September in New Delhi under which France will provide 36 Rafale fighter jets to India. The twin-engine, multi-role aircraft will be capable of carrying out various combat missions like Air Defence, Ground Attack, Reconnaissance, Anti-ship strikes etc.
‘Tejas’ Induction:The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) ‘Tejas’ was inducted into No. 45 Squadron of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on 1 July. The Squadron will operate from Bangalore for nearly two years, before it moves to its designated location at Sulur near Coimbatore. It is the first fighter Squadron to be a part of the Southern Air Command of IAF headquartered at Thiruvananthapuram.
Upgradation of ALGs:The IAF had embarked on an ambitious reconstruction plan to upgrade eight ALGs including infrastructure development at an overall outlay of nearly Rs. 1,000 crore following a MoU between the Government of Arunachal Pradesh and the Ministry of Defence in June 2009. Five ALGs at Ziro, Along, Mechuka, Pasighat and Tuting were upgraded and made operational, this year (2016).
Fighter Operations on Lucknow-Agra Expressway:Mirage-2000s and Su-30s successfully carried out ‘touch and go’ operations on a portion of the newly constructed Lucknow-Agra Expressway on 21 Nov.
Exercise Iron Fist 2016:A day-night exercise demonstrating the combat and fire power of the IAF was conducted on 18 Marat Rajasthan’s Pokhran firing range in the presence of the President Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi. The event comprised of six packages depicting six themes in which more than 180 aircraft, including fighters, transport and helicopters participated.
‘Op SankatMochan’:Stranded Indian nationals were evacuated from Juba, the capital of war-torn South Sudan on 14 July. The Minister of State for External Affairs, General VK Singh, flew to Juba in one of the two C-17 Globemaster aircraft in the operation which was named ‘Operation SankatMochan’.
DEFENCE COOPERATION WITH FOREIGN COUNTRIES
Exercise Red Flag with USAF:As part of International Defence Cooperation, Red Flag Alaska 16-1, an advanced aerial combat training exercise was hosted at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, USAfrom 28 April. There was a mix of combat and support elements participating from IAF, USAF and the US Navy. The exercise was played under multiple simulated scenarios designed to provide realistic settings.
Desert Eagle II:This was the second in the series of bilateral exercises between the IAF and the United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAE AF). This was a ten-day air combat exercise in which the IAF and the UAE AF undertook air exercises from Al-Dhafra Air Base, Abu Dhabi starting from 22 May.
India gets Women Fighter Pilots: History was created as the first three women fighter pilots of the IAF were commissioned at the Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy, Dundigal on 18 Jun. With this, India joined a select few nations in the world that have women fighter pilots. These women fighter pilots are Flying Officers AvaniChaturvedi, BhawanaKanth and Mohana Singh. Subsequently, on 12 Aug Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh DFC felicitated the three women fighter pilots in New Delhi.
HONOURS AND AWARDS
‘RashtriyaKhelProtsahanPuruskar’ For SubrotoMukerjee Sports Education Society: Recognising its efforts in developing football at the grassroots level, the ‘SubrotoMukerjee Sports Education Society’ (SMSES) was given the National Sports Award ‘RashtriyaKhelProtsahanPuruskar’, for ‘Sports for Development’ by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports on 23 Aug. The SMSES organises the famous Subroto Cup Football Tournament.
Award of President’s Standards:The President Shri Pranab Mukherjee awarded the prestigious Presidential Standard to 28 Equipment Depot and 119 Helicopter Unit at a ceremonial parade, held at Air Force Station Jamnagar on 4 Mar. The President also awarded the Presidential Standard to 501 Signal Unit and 30 Squadron on 10 Nov at Air Force Station Ambala.