A great short documentary about the Indian air force Su 30MKI Aircraft some may say that it is the most feared air force in Asia. The Indian Air Force (IAF; Devanāgarī: भारतीय वायु सेना, Bharatiya Vāyu Senā) is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian airspace. It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire and the prefix Royal was added in 1945 in recognition of its services during World War II. After India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947, the Royal Indian Air Force served the Dominion of India, with the prefix being dropped when India became a republic in 1950. Since independence, the IAF has been involved 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 – the annexation of Goa, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Operation Poomalai. Apart from conflicts, the IAF has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The President of India Pranab Mukherjee serves as the ex-officio Commander-in-Chief of the IAF. The Chief of Air Staff, an Air Chief Marshal (ACM), is a four-star commander and commands the Air Force. There is never more than one serving ACM at any given time in the IAF. The rank of Marshal of the Air Force has been conferred once, to Arjan Singh, by the President of India on 26 Jan 2002 and he became first five-star rank holding officer of IAF & serves as the ceremonial chief.
In its publication the Military Balance 2010, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimates that the Indian Air Force has a strength of 127,000 active personnel. However, various reliable sources provided notably divergent estimates of its strength over the years. Flightglobal (Flight International) estimates there to be around 1,588 aircraft in service with the IAF, according to its World Air Forces 2015 publication.
Evolution of the IAF Roundel over the years:
3)1947–1950 4)1950 – present
The IAF's mission is defined by the Armed Forces Act of 1947, Constitution of India and the Air Force Act of 1950, in the aerial battlespace, as:
“ Defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence and all such acts as may be conducive in times of war to its prosecution and after its termination to effective demobilisation. ”
Thus, the IAF has the primary objective of safeguarding Indian territory and national interests from all threats in conjunction with the other branches of the armed forces by defending Indian airspace. The IAF provides close air support to the Indian Army troops in the battlefield and also provides strategic and tactical airlift capabilities. IAF also provides infantry and artillery transportations or secondary Airlift for the Indian Army . The IAF also operates the Integrated Space Cell together with the other two branches of the Indian Armed Forces, the civilian Department of Space and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to utilise more effectively the country's space-based assets for military purposes and to look into threats to these assets.
The Indian Air Force along with the other branches of the Indian Armed Forces provide assistance in disaster relief such as during natural calamities by undertaking evacuation or search-and-rescue (SAR) operations and air dropping relief supplies in affected areas. The IAF provided extensive assistance to relief operations during natural calamities such as the Gujarat cyclone in 1998, the Tsunami in 2004 and North India floods in 2013. The IAF also provides assistance to other countries during relief activities such as Operation Rainbow in Sri Lanka.
Main article: History of the Indian Air Force
See also: List of historical aircraft of the Indian Air Force
Formation and early pilots
A Westland Wapiti, one of the first aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
The Indian Air Force was established in British India as an auxiliary air force of the Royal Air Force with the enactment of the Indian Air Force Act 1932 on 8 October that year and adopted the Royal Air Force uniforms, badges, brevets and insignia. On 1 April 1933, the IAF commissioned its first squadron, No.1 Squadron, with four Westland Wapiti biplanes and five Indian pilots. The Indian pilots were led by RAF Commanding officer Flight Lieutenant (later Air Vice Marshal) Cecil Bouchier.
World War II (1939–1945)
Main article: India during World War 2
During World War II, the IAF played an instrumental role in blocking the advance of the Japanese army in Burma, where its first air strike was on the Japanese military base in Arakan.