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Indian Air Force – 10 things every defence aspirant must know

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10 things you must know about Indian Air Force

Below mentioned are some of the must know facts about Indian Air Force. These will be helpful for anyone who is enthusiastic to know about IAF and defence aspirants.

These include structure, branches, ranks, aircrafts used and much more…

1.Motto of Indian Air Force:         

             नभः स्पृशं दीप्तम् (Touch the Sky with Glory)

The Motto of Indian Air Force has been taken from eleventh chapter of the Gita, the Discourse given by Lord Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra during the Great War of Mahabharata

2. Indian Air force Day:

Indian Air Force celebrates its Foundation day, 8 OCTOBER, as Air Force day every year.

Air Force was established on 8 October 1932 by the British Empire. It got the name ‘Royal’ because of their efforts in World War II.

After becoming a republic in 1950, Indian Air Force dropped the prefix ROYAL.

3. Structure of IAF:

IAF is headquartered in NEW DELHI.

IT has 5 Operational & 2 Training Commands. They are as follows:

  1. Central Air Command (CAC): HQ Allahabad, UP
  2. Eastern Air Command (EAC): HQ Shillong, Meghalaya
  3. Southern Air Command (SAC): HQ Thiruvantapuram, Kerala
  4. South Western Air Command (SWAC): HQ Gandhinagar, Gujarat
  5. Western Air Command (WAC): HQ New Delhi
  6. Training Command (TC): HQ Bangalore, Karnataka
  7. Maintenance Command (MC):  HQ Nagpur, Maharashtra 

Top 5 are Operational Commands whereas 6,7 come under Training Command.


The Garud Commando Force is the special forces unit of the Indian Air Force.Formed in September 2004, Garud has a current strength of over 1500 personnel. The unit derives its name from Garuda, a divine bird-like creature of Hindu Mythology.

Garud protects critical Air Force bases and installations; search and rescue during peace and hostilities and disaster relief during calamities. Presently, Garuds are deployed in Congo as part of the UN peace keeping operations.

5. Ranks in Indian Air Force:


Marshal of Air Force is ceremonial rank and has been conferred once, to Arjan Singh. It is a 5 star rank.

7. Branches in IAF

Basically there are three main branches in IAF, namely, Flying Branch, Technical Branch and Ground Branch. 

Ground Branch includes Logistics, Administration, Accounts, Education, Mental & Dental and Meteorological.

8. Training Academies of IAF

The Indian Armed Forces have set up numerous military academies across India for training its personnel, such as the National Defence Academy (NDA).

Other than this, the Indian Air Force has a Training Command and several training establishments. While technical and other support staff are trained at various Ground Training Schools, the pilots are trained at the Air Force Academy, Dundigul (located in Hyderabad).

The Pilot Training Establishment at Allahabad, the Air Force Administrative College at Coimbatore, the Institute of Aerospace Medicine at Bangalore, the Air Force Technical College, Bangalore at Jalahalli, the Tactics and Air Combat and Defence Establishment at Gwalior, and the Paratrooper’s Training School at Agra are some of the other training establishments of the IAF.

9. Divisions in IAF


Unlike the army, batallions, regiments, units etc. do not form IAF.

Each command has several stations. Within each operational command are anywhere from nine to sixteen bases or stations, each commanded by an Air Commodore. A station typically has one wing and one or two squadrons assigned to it.

Stations are further divided into Wings. It basically consists of two or three IAF squadrons and helicopter units, along with forward base support units (FBSU). FBSUs do not have or host any squadrons or helicopter units but act as transit airbases for routine operations. In times of war, they can become fully fledged air bases playing host to various squadrons. In all, about 47 wings and 19 FBSUs make up the IAF.

What is a squadron?

Squadrons and Units make up the Wing. A fighter squadron consists of 18 aircraft. A commanding officer with the rank of wing commander heads all fighter squadrons. A commanding officer with the rank of group captain, also heads some transport squadrons and helicopter units .

Flights are sub-divisions of Squadrons.  Squadron leader commands a Fight. Each flight consists of two sections.

The smallest unit is the section, led by a flight lieutenant. Each section consists of three aircraft.

10. Types of aircrafts used by IAF

Indian Air Force uses Fighter Planes, Transport/cargo planes, Helicopters, trainer aircrafts and UAVs.

IAF uses Sukhoi Su-30-MKI, Mikoyan MiG-29 (aka BAAZ), Dassult Mirage 2000, HAL Tejas, SEPECAT Jaguar, MiG-27, MiG-21 flighter planes .

Rafale is much awaited.

IAF also operated HAL Dhruv, HAL Chetak, Mi 8, Mi 17, Hal Cheetah helicopters.

The IAF currently uses the IAI Searcher II and IAI Heron for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes. The IAI Harpy serves as an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV)  designed to attack radar systems. Also, IAF operates the DRDO Lakshya which serves as realistic towed aerial sub-targets for live fire training.

Bonus: Royal Air Force old Ad.



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