HomePolitics IAF Mightty Jets to mark Diamond Jubilee today

 IAF Mightty Jets to mark Diamond Jubilee today

A leading Indian Air Force (IAF) transport squadron, which earned its spurs in different wars and military operations during the last six decades, will mark its diamond jubilee at the Chandigarh Air Force station on Saturday, with the milestone celebration turning the spotlight on the squadron’s outstanding achievements, officials familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The No. 44 Squadron, also known as the Mighty Jets, provided crucial logistics support to the army in the Ladakh sector during the 1962 India-China war, carried out extensive tactical and limited strategic airlift in the western sector during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, executed special bombing missions during the 1971 India-Pakistan war, and also played a pivotal role in supporting the army during the ongoing border row with China in eastern Ladakh, the officials said, asking not to be named.

The squadron was raised in April 1961, but the diamond jubilee celebrations were postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It currently operates IL-76 and C-17 military transport aircraft.

“The rich and glorious history of the squadron is a kaleidoscope of military history and military diplomacy of modern-day India and filled with tales of fortitude, courage, daring, devotion and professionalism which encapsulates all that the IAF stands for,” said one of the officials cited above.The squadron, raised with Soviet-origin An-12 aircraft, faced a baptism by fire in the 1962 war but lived up to expectations. It performed critical missions such as landing missions at Leh and Chushur, airdropping supplies to various bases, and evacuating victims. Another official said, “The squadron will also airlift AMX tanks into the northern sector, redefining the Indian Army’s strike capabilities.”

The squadron’s unique contribution to the 1971 campaign was the effective use of modified An-12s for bombing. For its innovation, bravery and outstanding service in the face of the enemy, the squadron received a prestigious Combat Award for its airstrikes on the theater of operations in West Pakistan, he said. The only non-fighter/bomber squadron to receive the Combat Honor Award for its role in the war. The squadron also played a key role in providing air mobility for IAF and Army forces during Operation Kargil in 1999. The next significant mission came in December 2001 when the squadron was tasked with moving combat units into a terrorist attack on Congress as part of Operation Parakram. .

The squadron flew more than 2,000 troops and essential military equipment to the Ladakh sector amid ongoing disputes over actual control.  

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