Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
01-March-2011 18:05 IST
Air Marshal Kumaria Visits
Air Force Station Chandigarh
To Felicitate its 50 Golden Years
Air Marshal DC Kumaria, Air Officer Commanding-in- Chief, Western Air Command is on a two day visit to Air Force Station Chandigarh to felicitate the station, as it celebrates its Golden Jubilee on 01 March 2011.

This is the first visit of Air Marshal Kumaria after assuming the charge of Western Air Command. On arrival Air Marshal Kumaria and Mrs. Vaneeta Kumaria, President Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Regional), were received by Air Commodore Rajiv Sachdeva, Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station Chandigarh and Mrs Neeta Sachdeva, President Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Local).

As a part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations, Air Marshal Kumaria also inaugurated a seminar on ‘Heavy Lift capability of the IAF’. The seminar that focussed on the past, present and future capabilities of the transport operations, was attended by all the officers who had earlier commanded Air Force Station Chandigarh, senior officers of Army, retired officers, besides the station’s officers.

In a series of functions spread over five days, from 01 to 05 Mar 11, the station celebrates its glorious history which dates back to 01 Mar 1961, when Group Captain Aulakh flew down from Delhi in an Otter aircraft along with his team of officers and men to build this station. The first task assigned to the station was to raise No. 42 Squadron of IL 14 and 44 Squadron of AN-12s on 07 Mar and 31 Mar 61 respectively. Soon 109 HU of MI-4 helicopters joined the station.

Air Force Station Chandigarh saw its first action during Chinese aggression in 1962 and played a stellar role by airlifting AMX tanks in AN-12s to Chushul, very close to the border . The station received the first MiG (Type 77) fighter interceptor, 28 Squadron, in March 1963. The Squadron was at that time commanded by Wing Commander Dilbagh Singh, who later went on to become Chief of the Air Staff.

25 Squadron nicknamed as ‘The Himalayan Eagles’ was raised on 01 Mar 1963 with AN-12 aircraft. They were phased out in January 93 and the Squadron was reequipped with heavy Jet transport IL-76 and the turbo prop AN-32. After 1965 War, Chandigarh was the base for re – equipment with and conversion on MiG-21s between 1966-79 for a number of squadrons. A MiG link trainer (KTS-4), capable of simulating all manoeuvres, a very useful aid for pilots training was also installed in 1967.

The command of the station was elevated to the rank of Air Commodore in the year 1968 with Air Commodore Jaspal Singh, as Air Officer Commanding of Station. On 03 Dec 71, PAF attacked a number of our air bases and Air Force Station swung into action and proved its mettle in their new role of ‘Carpet Bombing’ on the Western front, and para assault by different types of aircraft on the night of 11 and 12 Dec 71 at ‘TANGAIL’ which brought the war to a quicker ending . The Canberras also used this base as a forward staging post for deep strikes inside Pakistan. In May 1986, 48 Squadron equipped with AN-32s (Medium tactical) moved from Allahabad to Chandigarh for their Air Maintenance Operations in Siachen in North-Western Ladakh. AN-32s were the first aircraft to land at ‘Jaffna at the commencement of ‘Op Pawan’ while IL-76 were the first at Male during the Maldives Operation.

During the ‘Bhuj’ earthquake in 2001, the aircraft of the base were the first to land with relief supplies. MI 26 helicopters provided the much needed air support during flash floods in Rampur in the hilly terrains of Himachal Pradesh. Air Force Station, Chandigarh plays a vital role in national security, keeping vigil over the skies and maintaining life lines to remote and difficult border areas. The base has demonstrated its capacity to accomplish task with swift efficiency. Reactivating Advanced Landing Grounds like ‘Daulat Beg Oldie’, ‘Fukche’ and activating ‘Nyoma’ and carrying out continuous Flood Relief missions during flash floods of Leh are the current achievements of the station.