The official touchdown of C-130J at Hindan AF base. Photo: IAF
Together with the raising of No. 77 Squadron, named ‘Veiled Vipers’, the Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted the first C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft, procured from the United States of America (USA), into service at IAF’s Hindan airbase, today. The squadron will have all of six aircraft after their phased arrival by end 2011.
At an induction ceremony held in the airbase, Defence Minister A.K. Antony handed over the keys of the aircraft to the Commanding Officer of No. 77 Squadron, Group Captain Tejbir Singh, in the presence of Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, marking its formal induction.
Gp Capt Tejbir later conducted the Defence Minister and Air Chief around the aircraft. As the dignitaries proceeded inside, a section of IAF’s Special Forces ‘Garuds’ in combat suits jumped off from the rear of the aircraft in a symbolic display of their future integration with the squadron.
The event was also attended by Defence Secretary, Pradeep Kumar, Vice Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal NAK Browne, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command (WAC), Air Marshal DC Kumaria and other senior IAF officials, including personnel of the newly raised squadron.
Adopting ‘Kill with Stealth’ as their motto, the tactical airlift aircraft will be able to undertake quick deployment of ‘Special Forces’ in all weather conditions, including airdrops and landings on unprepared or semi-prepared surface even in complete darkness. Capable of undertaking low-level air-to-air refueling to enhance its range, rapid forward basing of personnel and equipment in emergent situations would be one of its multifaceted roles.
The war time employability will include special air operations, airborne operations, air transported operations, air supply operations, air maintenance operations and casualty evacuation among other roles. The peacetime roles include operations and air maintenance in mountainous terrain in adverse circumstances, UN or multinational missions, humanitarian assistance including disaster relief and evacuation of Indian Diaspora during emergencies and crisis situations.