India will celebrate its 87th Air Force Day on October 8, 2019. On October 8, 1932, the Indian Air Force (IAF) was established by the British Empire, formed under the Indian Air Force Act. At present, the Indian Air Force is the fourth most powerful air force in the world after the United States, Russia and China.
IAF has proved its mettle numerous times and fulfilled its duty of providing aerial security to the hilt. The President of India holds the rank of Supreme Commander of the IAF. The four-star officer with the rank of Air Chief Marshal leads the force. Air Chief Marshal RK Bhadauria is the Chief of Air Staff.
As the Indian Air Force celebrates its 87th Air Force Day today, we bring you 11 inspiring & interesting facts about the IAF that'll make every Indian proud. Check it out:
- After Independence of India in 1947, Indian Air Force was named Royal Indian Air Force. However, when India turned Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed.
- After 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.
- With around 1, 70,000 personnel and 1,500 aircraft, IAF is the fourth largest air force in the world after the US, Russia and China. The Indian air force is also the seventh strongest air force in the world.
- IAF's Hindon Air Force Station, situated near Ghaziabad is the largest in Asia and 8th largest in the world. The highest Air Force Station is Siachen Glacier AFS situated at a height of 22,000 ft or (or 6,706 m).
- Adopted in 1951, IAF flag is blue in colour and contains the National Flag in the first quadrant and a roundel of the Tricolour. Since 1933, the IAF Roundel (logo on the planes and IAF flag) has changed at least four times.
- Flying officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon was the first and only IAF officer to be awarded the Param Veer Chakra posthumously for his bravery in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
- IAF has one Air Marshal at a time and Padmavathy Bandopadhyay is the first woman Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force. Also, she was the second woman in the Indian armed forces who was promoted to three-star rank.
- The IAF destroyed more than 40 APCs, 29 Pakistani tanks, and a railway train during the Battle of Longewala in the 1971 Indo-Pak War.
- The IAF created a world record by airlifting around 20,000 civilians in ‘Raahat’ mission during floods in Uttarakhand.
- IAF has a base in Tajikistan named Farkhor Air base located in Farkhor, India's first and only military base outside the country.
- According to Flight International, there to be around 1,721 aircraft including Su-30MKI, Jaguars, Mirage-2000, Apache and Chinook in service with the Indian Air Force.
VIDEO: Indian Air Force to celebrate 87th anniversary today