President honours IAF helicopter unit and equipment depot


Gujarat Global News Network, Jamnagar

The President of India and the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces Pranab Mukherjee awarded the prestigious Presidential Colours to 28 Equipment Depot and Presidential Standard to 119 Helicopter Unit at a ceremonial parade, held at Air Force Station Jamnagar on Friday.

The Air Officer Commanding of 28 Equipment Depot, Air Commodore NR Chitnis and Commanding Officer of 119 Helicopter Unit, Wing Commander Suseem Siwach received the President Colours and Standard respectively.

The Air Force’s 119 Helicopter unit was involved in 26/11 Mumbai attack and worked for flushing out terrorists. 119 Helicopter Unit was raised in Guwahati in March 1972 as ‘Angels of Mercy’ with Mi-8 helicopters.

Initially, the unit flew extensively in support of counter insurgency operations in Nagaland and ‘Operation Falcon’ in Arunachal Pradesh to check Chinese incursion. It took part in ‘Operation Cactus’ in November 1988 (which is India’s intervention for restoration of government’s rule in Maldives) and played a major role during the ‘Atlantique Crisis’ of August 1999 (in which a Pakistan’s Navy plane was gunned down) and ‘Operation Black Tornado’ after the terrorist attack on Mumbai in November 26, 2008.

The unit now operates the newly acquired Mi-17 V5 helicopters. It had undertaken humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations in Gujarat and Nepal recently.

The 28 Equipment Depot, which deals with all facets of air armament stores, has completed 62 years of service to the nation. The Depot played a significant role in the operations of 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars by providing huge quantity of explosive stores in serviceable condition to the units engaged in operations.

A ceremonial parade was held to mark the occasion, which was commanded by Group Captain S Chauhan, Chief Operations officer, Air Force Station Jamnagar. The President also released First Day covers of 28 Equipment Depot and 119 Helicopter Unit at the function. There was a spectacular display of precision and dare devilry by the Air Warrior Drill Team and fly-past consisting of Jaguar, Mi-17 V5 and Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team which mesmerised the audience. The breathtaking fly-past was synchronized with significant events of the parade. The centre of attraction for the entire ceremony was an impressive display of the ALH Sarang display team in their attractive colours which enthralled the gathering.

Speaking on the occasion, President expressed confidence that our armed forces would rise to the occasion whenever called upon and always keep the country’s flag flying high. He also said that the professional excellence, grit and determination exhibited by both the units over the years is highly commendable. He complimented all the personnel and families of 28 Equipment Depot and 119 Helicopter Unit and wished them continued success in their future endeavours.

Interacting with media after the function, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chief of the Air Staff said that Indian Air Force is on a trajectory of modernization and is transforming into a strategic aerospace power with full spectrum capability. Accretion through new acquisitions, replacement of obsolete equipment with state-of-the art inductors and up gradation of vintage weapon platforms would definitely go a long way in enhancing IAF capabilities. Induction and speedy operationalisation of IAF’s new assets and aircraft have afforded unprecedented response capabilities.

He also emphasized that the long term planning of the IAF would ensure that the men and women in blue continue to achieve greater level of professional skills and capabilities. He stated that the challenge for IAF is to manage the fast-paced changes effectively, without compromising on the high operational Standards.

(For news in Hindi see our Hindi daily Chaupal Chronicle)