Indian air force proves Hamsafar in J&K



   Jammu, October 8 (Scoop News) –79 years ago, to this date, a very small band of Indian pilots and airmen set out against many odds, to learn to fly and maintain aero planes and form an Air force. Indian Air Force (IAF) came into existence on 08 Oct 1932. The 1st Squadron was formed on 01 Apr 1933 at Drigh Road Karachi and was commanded by Flight Lieutenant C. A. Bouchier. This unit consisted of 04 aircraft, 06 officers and 19 Hawai sepoys. From these humble beginnings, the IAF has grown to be the fourth largest Air Force in the world. Today, it is a highly technical and specialized fighting force capable of safeguarding the nation’s skies from any enemy aggression. The “Air Warriors” (As the men & women of IAF like to be known as) of today are ever ready and vigilant to strike terror in the heart of the enemy. The IAF is now a confident
aerospace force of air warriors capable of keeping its glorious traditions alive and living up to its motto of “TOUCH THE SKY WITH GLORY”
Air Force Station Jammu has a rich history and heritage. It is one of the oldest air bases of IAF and the No. 1 Wing was formed here on 10 Mar 48.  The Wing operated from Srinagar in summers and Jammu in winters. On 25 Jan 1963, No. 23 Wing was formed at this location under the command of Wing Commander J. Andrews and 1 Wing permanently moved to Srinagar. Before Independence, the Sialkot –Jammu railway line
ended at what is the Air Base today. The horses of the King and Princes used to be transported for playing Polo at the Polo ground.


The runway in those days was a World War-II grassy air strip covered with sheets made of Perforated Steel Plates (PSP). Some structures of those times are still in use today. The air terminal building now houses the Officers Mess. The hangar still stands strong and provides shelter to helicopters. The erstwhile railway Station Master’s building still exists and the railway station is presently used as Logistics Section. The Polo ground is still utilised as a major sporting centre for all air warriors of the station. A recently formed
“aero model club” operates from here.


Helicopters have been the main stay of this station. Initially Mi-4s, then Chetaks and now Mi-17s of No 130 Helicopter Unit operate in the most challenging environment of J&K including round-the-year ‘Air Maintenance’ of the Siachen Glacier-The Highest Battlefield in the World. Their role in the Siachen Glacier has rightfully earned them
the soubriquet of “The Guardians of the Glacier”. AF Station Jammu has always been in the thick of battle. It was in the forefront during Kargil operations and provided logistic support and air casualty evacuation to our troops on the front. It continues to perform the
role of aiding the frontline troops even today.

Aid to civil authority has also been an important task of this station. The station has always risen to occasion and undertaken rescue operations at the shortest possible notice. To name a few, it undertook rescue operations during ‘The White Tsunami’ in the Kashmir valley of Feb 2005, relief and reconstruction work after the Oct 2005 earthquake, evacuation of thousands of stranded civilians passengers stuck on Jammu Srinagar National Highway due to unexpected heavy rains in Feb 2007(Operation Hamsafar) and airlifting of citizens, tourists, troops after the unprecedented snow fall in the valley in Feb 2008.This station has also provided a life line during the flash floods which occur in the Jammu and Samba areas and also during the cloud burst at Leh. Such life saving and time critical missions are routinely done by the brave air warriors of this base. In the last one month itself, helicopters have carried out three casualty evacuation
missions from mishaps in Kishtwar and Chandrakote areas rescuing many civilians.

Presently, Air Force Station Jammu is commanded by Air Commdore Nitin Sathe. Under his able and motivated guidance, A F Station Jammu has undertaken week long activities to commemorate the 79th Air Force Day.