The Indian Air Force is celebrating its 87th anniversary today. Every year, the Air Force Day is celebrated at Hindon base in presence of IAF chief and senior officials of the three-armed forces. The IAF was founded on October 8, 1932, and the force has participated in several crucial wars and landmark missions. Also today, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will receive the first of the 36 Rafale aircraft in the French port city of Bordeaux, where he will perform ‘Shastra Puja’ on the occasion of Dussehra and take a sortie in the fighter jet.
The Indian Air Force, the air arm of the Indian armed forces, is entrusted with the prime responsibility of safeguarding the Indian airspace as well as to carry out aerial warfare on enemy aircrafts and destroy strategic installations during war time.
Why is IAF day celebrated on October 8?
IAF formation day - October 8, 1932
The Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal. After India gained independence from the United Kingdom 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.
On 1 April 1933, the IAF commissioned its first squadron, designated as the No.1 Squadron. The Squadron's manpower comprised off six RAF-trained officers and 19 Havai Sepoys (literally, air soldiers). The aircraft inventory comprised of four Westland Wapiti IIA army co-operation biplanes at Drigh Road as the "A" Flight nucleus of the planned No.1 (Army Co-operation) Squadron.
IAF's Operational Engagement
Since 1950, the IAF has actively taken part in four wars with neighbouring Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Operation Poomalai. The IAF's role expands beyond engagement with hostile forces, with it contributing significantly to the United Nations peacekeeping missions.
IAF's Relief and Rescue Operations
The Air Force also renders relief and rescue operations to the citizens of the country in times of natural disasters and calamities. The IAF provided extensive assistance to relief operations during natural calamities such as the Gujarat cyclone in 1998 and the Tsunami in 2004. The IAF also provides assistance to other countries during relief activities such as Operation Rainbow in Sri Lanka.