Indian Air Force

From Academic Kids

See the Indian Air Force for the pre independence Royal Indian Air Force.

The Indian Air Force was established on October 8, 1932 as the Royal Indian Air Force, dropping its Royal prefix after India became a Republic in 1950. It is the fourth largest airforce in the world.

logo. Motto of Indian Air Force is Nabha Sparasham Deeptam - Touching the Sky with Glory
logo. Motto of Indian Air Force is Nabha Sparasham Deeptam - Touching the Sky with Glory
Missing image
Indian Airforce flag


The Indian Air Force was established as the Royal Indian Air Force by the passing of the Indian Air Force act on 8th October 1932. Accordingly, No.1 Squadron IAF came into being on 1st April 1933 at Drigh Road, Karachi. There were five pilots commanded by an RAF officer and the first batch of Hawai Sepoys. The complement of the squadron consisted of four Westland Wapiti Biplanes comprising 'A' Flight of the squadron. After India's became a republic in 1950, the term Royal was dropped to the current Indian Air Force. The Indian Air Force has grown a great deal is now currently the 4th largest air force in the world with around 2000 planes including several modern jet fighters.

Early Pilots

The first five Indian Pilots commissioned into the Indian Air Force were H C Sircar, Subroto Mukerjee, Bhupendra Singh, A B Awan and Amarjeet Singh. A sixth officer, S N Tandon had to revert to Ground duties as he was too short! All of them were commissioned as Pilot Officers in 1933. Bhupendra Singh and Amarjeet Singh died in an air accident in Sept 33. HC Sircar left the IAF after less than an year. Tandon died during World War Two. AB Awan opted for the Pakistani Air Force and retired as a Wing Commander. Subroto Mukerjee went on to become the first Indian Chief of Air Staff of the IAF.

Subsequent batches inducted before WW2 included stalwarts like Aspy Engineer, K K Majumdar, Narendra, R H D Singh, S N Goyal, 'Baba' Mehar Singh, Prithpal Singh and Arjan Singh.

The Royal Indian Air Force in World War 2

It is not so well known that the Indian Armed Forces were the largest all volunteer force to fight in WW2. Nearly 20 million volunteers fought with the Indian Army, the Royal Indian Air Force and the Royal Indian Navy.

1947-48 Kashmir operations

In a bid to gain control of the erstwhile principality of Jammu & Kashmir, Pathan tribesmen, armed and aided by Pakistan poured into Kashmir on October 20, 1947. They went into a frenzy, killing, ransacking and pillaging as they advanced to Srinagar, the capital of Jammu & Kashmir. The Maharajah of Kashmir appealed to the Indian government for assistance.

The Government of India (GoI) made its assistance conditional upon Kashmir's accession to India. Within hours of his signing the Instrument of Accession, the first Indian troops, commanded by Lt Col Dewan Ranjit Rai, were airlifted to Srinagar in Dakotas from No.12 Squadron.

Taking off from Safdarjang, then known as Willingdon airfield, the first Indian troops were landed at Srinagar airfield at 0930 hrs IST on October 27. The fighting ended on December 31, 1948, the cease-fire brought about by UN Mediation.

No air-to-air encounters took place between the Royal Indian Air Force and the Royal Pakistan Air Force.

1961 Congo Operations

Belgium's 75-year colonial rule of the Congo ended abruptly on June 30, 1960. Belgium requested the help of the United Nations.

In India, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was quick to respond to the initial appeal for help. India loaned personnel to the UN effort.

The request to the Indian Air Force was for ground support aircraft, and the Hunter was at first considered. This was changed to the Canberra, however, despite the fact that the UN decreed that no bombs would be carried or dropped.

1962 Sino-India war

Though technologically IAF was superior to the Chinese, lack of proper political leadership and military communication gap cost India dear. The IAF was never committed to the war by a hesitant and timid political leadership fearing escalation. Thus, the Indian Air Force was restricted to logistics operations alone. In this environment the Indian Army had to face overwhelming odds without air support. This critical lack of understanding of the use of air power was brought out in a series of after action reports.

1965 Indo-pak war

Though the official figures are hard to pin, it's generally accepted that IAF lost more aircrafts then PAF(Pakistan air force). However, the objective of thwarting Pakistan from seizing Kashmir, meant that, in the broader picture the IAF did the job.

1971 Indo-Pak war

If in the previous wars, the IAF was relegated to the backburner, this one saw the full power of the airforce as a threatening and lethal unit. Many battles and skirmishes ensured a thumping Indian victory. The Battle of Longewala was one such incidence where a column of nearly 50 tanks were taken out. Not until the Gulf War would so many tanks be neutralised with little to no air losses. By all accounts the IAF decimated a quarter of the PAF.

Historical Aircraft of Indian Air Force

Bombers/Ground Attack

Missing image
A dated picture of IAF Canberra . The aircraft had played an important role during the 1971 Indo-Pak War (FFG 38).





Current Aircraft of Indian Air Force

Fighter Aircraft

Missing image
SU-30K, IAF's most prized possession, takes off from Ambala Air base (FFG 38).



Future Aircraft of Indian Air Force

Missing image
TD-1 KH-2001, a Tejas test aircraft flies over the Deccan. The aircraft is under development in India by ADA (FFG 38).

See also

Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

External links


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools