Dorniers bask in the sunlight at Air Force Station Yelahanka in Bangalore, as the IAF gears up to celebrate its 82nd birthday on October 8. Photo: Vinod Kumar T
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Express News Service
Bangalore: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has begun the preliminary rounds of preparations for the 10th edition of the biennial air show to be held at the Air Force Station (AFS) Yelahanka, in Bangalore, from February 18-22, 2015. The Aero India-2015 will be seen through ‘a new window of opportunity’ by the aerospace and defence industry now, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ pitch. The IAF officials said that they are preparing the ground to accommodate more participants during the air show.
Speaking to Express on the sidelines of a media visit to AFS Yelahanka on Wednesday, ahead of the 82nd IAF Day celebrations on October 8, Air Commodore S C Gulati, Air Officer Commanding of the station said that initial talks with various state government agencies have already begun. “These are early days of preparations and we have the SOPs (standard operating procedures) in place. We hope that the coming show will be bigger in all aspects and AFS Yelahanka is warming up for the task,” said Gulati, a seasoned IAF pilot with close to 8000 hours of flying. Survey of hospitals and helipads in Bangalore are underway as part of the disaster management plan.
No air space clogging: To a specific query whether the training activities at AFS Yelahanka will be hit if HAL Airport is reopened for commercial operations, Gulati said that IAF’s modern traffic management systems are capable of handling the situation. To another query whether the current activities at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) have eaten into the traffic space of the base (as reported by the media earlier), he said the training schedules have not been affected.
“Our training patterns have not changed and are proceeding as planned. We operate on the assigned air space and both HAL and KIA too do the same. Paris has got three airports and London has four,” said Gulati, who was part of the Air HQ Communication Squadron, flying the Boeing Business Jets, carrying VIPs. The AFS Yelahanka has the record of being the single largest base in India with maximum number of flying hours. It has to its credit over 20,000 hours of flying, annually.
Modernisation on track: As part of the IAF’s ongoing modernisation mission, AFS Yelahanka will soon get a new station HQ with the construction work almost entering the last lap. An official who interacted with the media said that the induction AFS Yelahanka is poised to increase in the near future. “Some of the old buildings from where we are operating are from the British era. It’s but natural to move into new space. This is a diversion base for various operational aircraft as well and we do maintenance of our assets also,” an official said.
AFS Yelahanka gives training in formation flying, para-trooping, special night operations, casuality evacuation and VIP flying. Transport aircraft including the AN-32s and HAL-built Dornier-228s are the prime assets of the station. In addition, the station houses the Training Command communication flight, Dornier Tettra School and two helicopter units (112 HU & 109 HU). A 24x7 SRE unit (Surveillance Radar Element) also operates out of this station. “During the recent floods in Jammu and Kashmir, we had flown relief material to Srinagar. Our aircraft have also evacuated 285 passengers from Srinagar to different locations,” the official added.
Copyright@The New Indian Express