In a first, 4 IAF units to receive President’s Standard and Colours


PTI, Mar 2, 2024, 8:06 AM IST

AOC-in-C Western Air Command Air Marshal PM Sinha and other air force personnel during the curtain raiser press conference ahead of President’s Standard and Colours presentation ceremony. (Credit: PTI Photo)

New Delhi: In a historic first, four units of the Indian Air Force will receive prestigious ‘President’s Standard and Colours’ from President Droupadi Murmu at the Hindan air base on March 8.

Murmu will be awarding the President’s Standard to 45 Squadron and 221 Squadron and the President’s Colours to 11 Base Repair Depot and 509 Signal unit, the defence ministry said.

It will be the first time in history of the IAF that four units will be awarded President’s Standard and Colours together, it said.

The award of the President’s Standard and Colours is the highest military honour for any armed forces units. The four units selected for the coveted awards have stellar contributions in the IAF’s history.

The 221 squadron is known as the ‘Valiants’. The history of the squadron dates back to 14 Feb 1963 when it was raised at Barrackpore, equipped with Vampire aircraft.

Barely two years after its formation, the Squadron was pressed into action in the Eastern theatre during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, where it made commendable contributions to the overall war waging effort.

In August 1968, the squadron was one of the first to be re-equipped with the Su-7 supersonic attack fighter.

During the 1971 Indo-Pak War, operating in the Eastern theatre, the squadron undertook extensive counter air, close air support and photo reconnaissance missions.

The famed attack over Kurmitola and Tezgaon airbases resulted in destruction of several Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Sabres on ground and proved to be pivotal in rendering the PAF ineffective in the Eastern theatre.

The 45 squadron is also called the ‘Flying Daggers’. Raised in 1959 with Vampire aircraft, the squadron took part in ‘Operation Vijay’ towards liberation of Goa from Portuguese rule in 1960.

On August 1, 1965, Pakistan launched an attack in the Chhamb sector with overwhelming superiority in troops and armour.

The 45 squadron was the first IAF unit to launch offensive missions on the first day of the conflict.

Despite flying the vintage Vampires, the raw courage and professionalism of the pilots was enough to stall the enemy armour that included destruction of ten enemy tanks.

Subsequently, ‘Flying Daggers’ flew 178 sorties in support of the Indian Army. After the war, the unit was re-equipped with MiG 21 FL fighters.

In the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the unit was responsible for air defence in Punjab and Rajasthan sectors, flying 258 missions, which were instrumental in safeguarding the forward air bases against enemy air attacks.

In 1982 the unit was equipped with the MiG 21 Bis aircraft.

11 Base Repair Depot is a premier and only fighter aircraft base repair depot of the IAF that was established under Maintenance Command in April 1974 at Ojhar, Nashik.

Su-7 was the first aircraft to be overhauled by the Depot and in the subsequent years, variants of MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-29 aircraft have been overhauled.

The 509 signal unit was established on March 1 1965 and is presently functioning as an Air Defence Direction Centre in Meghalaya.

The unit has been functioning with the THD 1955 radar since 1995.

The watershed moments in the unit’s history, dates back to the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 wherein 509 SU emerged as the epicenter of all air defence activities over East Pakistan.

A defining moment came with the precision strike on the Governor’s House in Dhaka, orchestrated from the operations room of the unit.

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