30 Facts About Indian Air Force (IAF) Every Indian should be Proud

One of the key components of the Indian defence mechanism, the Indian Air Force (IAF) ranks amongst the best in the world. Formed under the Indian Air Force Act on October 8, 1932 it has proved its mettle numerous times and fulfilled its duty of providing aerial security to the hilt. As the Indian Air Force celebrates its 83rd Air Force Day today, we bring you 30 inspiring & Amazing facts about the IAF that'll make every Indian proud. Check it out.

1. With around 1,70,000 personnel and 1,500 aircraft, it is the fourth largest air force in the world after US, China and Russia.

At its peak, IAF operated about 224 squadrons.


2. It is also the seventh strongest Air Force in the world, better than that of Germany, Australia and Japan.


3. The IAF flag, adopted in 1951, is blue in colour and contains the National Flag in the first quadrant and a roundel of the Tricolour.


4. The IAF Roundel (logo on the planes and IAF flag) has changed four times since 1933.


5. Its motto Nabha Sparsham Deeptham is taken from the eleventh chapter of the Bhagvad Gita.

The way Lord Krishna shows his divine form to Arjuna, in a similar way, the Indian Air Force aims to overwhelm adversaries with of aerospace power to defend the nation


6. Empowering women.

One Air Marshal at a time. Padmavathy Bandopadhyay is the first woman Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force. She was also the first woman officer to become a specialist in aviation medicine.


7. The Garud Commando Force has the longest training course.

A special forces unit of the Indian Air Force, the Garud Commando Force was founded in the year 2004. With 2000 personnel, it has the longest training course among all the other Indian special forces. The Garud Commando Force is renowned for its skills and rescue operations.


8. Arjan Singh- The only living military officer with a 5-star rank.

With the death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh is the only living Indian military officer with a 5-star rank. His rank is now at par with that of a Field Marshal.


9. The latest addition to the Air Force arsenal, Mirage 2000, a French single-seated air defence and multi-purpose fighter jet, is powered by a single engine with maximum speed of 2,495 kilometre per hour.

On external stations, it carries two 30mm integral cannons and two Matra Super 530D medium-range and two R-550 magic ll close combat missiles.


10. From October 1, 1993 to December 21, 1994, the IAF took part in peacekeeping duties in Somalia as part of the Indian contingent supporting UN operations.


11. Yes, the IAF has a base in a foreign country!

The Farkhor Air base located in Farkhor near Tajikistan is India's first and only military base outside the country.


12. At 22,000 ft (or 6,706 m), Siachen Glacier AFS is the highest Air Force Station of the IAF.


13. The IAF was referred to as Royal Indian Air Force from 1945 to 1950.

King George VI conferred the prefix “Royal” in 1945. In 1950, when India became a republic, the prefix was dropped.


14. The IAF engaged in conflict outside the country in 1960, when Belgium’s 75-year rule over Congo ended abruptly.

The IAF activated No. 5 Squadron to support the United Nations Operation in the Congo.


15. The IAF destroyed more than 29 Pakistani tanks, 40 APCs and a railway train during the Battle of Longewala in the 1971 Indo-Pak War besides a number of critical installations.

By the time Pakistani forces surrendered, the IAF claimed that 94 PAF aircraft, including 54 F-86 Sabres had been shot down.


16. The IAF created a world record by performing the highest landing of a C-130J at the Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip in Ladakh at the height of 16614 feet (5065 meters).

In a subtle show of strength to China, the IAF landed its C-130J Super Hercules transport plane at Daulat Beg Oldie airstrip in Ladakh. The feat was accomplished on August 20, 2013.


17. India is building the 5th generation Sukhoi PAK FA in collaboration with Russia.

When completed, it will be the most lethal fighter jet in the world alongside the US F-22. It is expected to start flying around 2015.


18. The Air Force has over 60 air bases spread all over India.

With 16 air bases, the Western Air Command is the largest Air Command.


19. The SEPECAT Jaguar and the Mikoyan MiG-27 serve as the IAF’s primary ground attack force.

The IAF currently operates 139 Jaguars and over 100 MiG-27s.


20. IAF’s first HAL-made fighter was HF-24 Marut.

It was designed by the famed German aerospace engineer Kurt Tank and operated from 1961 to 1985.


21. The Tejas is the second supersonic Light Combat Aircraft developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).


22. IAF transport aircraft airlifted hundreds of Indian troops to secure the Siachen glacier during 1984 Operation Meghdoot.


23. The indigenously built HAL Light Combat Helicopter will be in service by December 2015. It is faster and more agile than most other contemporary Combat Helicopters.


24. The IAF’s primary air superiority fighter with the additional capability to conduct air-ground (strike) missions is Sukhoi Su-30MKI.


25. The IAF is the only air force that operates C-17 Globemaster III, C-130J Super Hercules, and Il-76 – the three largest transport aircrafts.


26. The IAF manages Air Force Network (AFNet)

Air Force Network is a state-of-the-art, fully secure and reliable network (Intranet) and gigabyte digital information grid.


27. The IAF created a world record while rescuing civilians during the Uttarakhand flash floods.

Operation Rahat was the biggest civilian rescue operation in the world carried out by any air force using helicopters. the Indian Air Force made a world record in aviation by airlifting almost 20,000 civilians.


28. Flying officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon was awarded the Param Veer Chakra.

He is, till date, the only member of the Indian Air Force to have been awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his exemplary display of courage during the Indo-Pak war of 1971.


29. The IAF has its very own museum in New Delhi.

It has a rich collection of memorabilia of Indian Military Aviation and displays the history of the Indian Air Force. Located in Palam, Delhi the museum hosts some rare memorabilia of the Indian Air Force right from when it was formed in the year 1932.


30. Welcoming women fighter pilots.

Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha recently said that the IAF is planning to induct women fighter pilots. As of now, there are around 300 women pilots in the IAF.


The "rescue operation Rahat" was launched by the IAF to evacuate civilians affected by the 2013 North India floods. The IAF airlifted a total of 19,600 people – flying a total of 2,140 sorties and dropping/landing a total of 3,82,400 kg of relief material and equipment.

It has been over eight decades that the Indian Air Force has been shielding the country and its people. The IAF has the core purpose of safeguarding Indian territory and national interests from all threats in connection with the other branches of the armed forces by protecting Indian aerospace.

The Indian Air Force, also known as Bharatiya Vayu Sena is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces. Its key role is to keep the Indian aerospace resistant to attacks and manage the aerial warfare during conflict.

Established on October 8, 1932, it then possessed strength of 25 soldiers of which 19 were combat pilots. Ever since then, the air force has went through extreme modernisation and expansion, both in strength of man and technology.


Read Also: Best Motivational Quotes From Indian Army


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