Indian Air Force is one of the most powerful air forces in the World. No doubt, the Indian Air Force has always stood by the country in all the situation. Being a disaster, casualties, rescue missions or a pandemic situation, IAF has always been there serving India. Indeed, pilots are always in the very main role while operating from different air force base across the country. Have you ever wondered, who give the orders to these Flying Officers or Wing Commanders? Well, they get these orders from their commanding officers, basic commands of the Indian Air Force. There are, in total, 9 commands of the Indian Air Force, including the training command and union territories commands.
The IAF currently has five operational commands led by an AOC-in-C (Chief Air Officer) with the Air Marshal rank. In the field of training and maintenance, the IAF also has two other operatives, Training Command and Maintenance Command. Chief of Air staff is in charge of Air’s headquarters at New Delhi. Air HQ monitors and maintains authority over the commands of all IAF administrative functions. The IAF also has two other joint commands – the Command of Andaman and Nicobar and the Command of Strategic Forces. In this section we will learn about all the different commands and moving further, there will be a separate blog on each of the commands with a brief explanation. Let’s move further to the very best of our today’s topic.
Operational Commands of Indian Air Force
1. Western Air Command (WAC)
On independence 27 September 1947, Western Command was formed as No. 1 Operational Group. Therefore, it was classified as an Operations Command by IAF Western Command in 1949 and the operations command was renamed Western Air Command in 1962 with the raising of Central Air Command. Out of the five regional commands, the WAC is the most relevant one. It is the largest and the most important air command of the Indian Air Force. It is responsible for the aerial defence in Nothern India. In addition, WAC’s Area of Responsibility ranges from Jammu and Kashmir to Rajasthan, even including the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi and Western Uttar Pradesh.
In fact, the Headquarter of Western Air Command is in Subroto Park, Delhi. The head of the command is the C-in-C (Commander in Chief) of the rank of Air Marshal. The commander is Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, AVSM, VM. They deal with the command’s daily operations and serve as the link between the different wings as well. There are 13 Squadrons IAF and also 10 Helicopter Units Squadrons, IAF. 10 Air Force Stations and 6 Forward base support units (FBSU), including Siachen Strategic Forward Air Base, are also under the control of WAC.
2. Eastern Air Command (EAC)
Eastern Air Command is one of the commands of the Indian Air Force. In addition, EAC oversees the air activities of East Bengal, Assam, Mizoram and other eastern countries bordering Bangladesh, Burma and Tibet, including West Bengal and other eastern countries. Not to mention, Eastern Air Command (EAC) has permanent air bases in Agartala, Calcutta, Panagarh and Shillong with forwarding airbases. The EAC consists of MiG-21 AD squadrons and MiG-27 ground attack squadrons. The commander of the EAC is C-in-C, Air Marshal Amit Dev, AVSM, VSM. There are 8 Squadrons IAF and 10 Helicopter Unit Squadrons. The Headquarter of EAC is in Shillong, Meghalaya.
3. Central Air Command (CAC)
Central Air Command is one of the five operational commands of the Indian Air Force. The CAC patrols primarily India’s northern centre. Moreover, the CAC has control over Bihta, Darbhanga, Bakshi-ka- Talab, Nagpur, Kanpur, Nainital, Memaura and Vary, with Agra, Bareilly, Gorelli, Gwalior and Bamraulli air-bases. Fixed-wing aircraft including the Mirage 2000 and Mil Mi-8 is operated by the CAC. The Mil Mi-17 and Mil Mi-26 are operated by Antonov An-32, Ilyushin Il-77, Dornier 228 and other helicopters such as the Mil Mi 8. The headquarter of Central Air Command is in Pryagraj, Uttar Pradesh. There are 8 Squadrons IAF, 2 helicopter Unit Squadrons and also 1 TACDE Unit. The commander of Central Air Command is Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, PVSM, AVSM, VM.
4. South Western Air Command (SWAC)
One of the five operational commanders of the Indian Air Force in the South Western Air Command. The establishment of SWAC is under Western Air Command in Jodhpur in July 1980 and its operations cover much of Rajasthan, south as Kutch and Pune via Gujarat and Saurashtra. The SWAC involves air defence although it incorporates a striking profile. On the contrary, the headquarter of South Western Air Command is in Gandhinagar and the commander of SWAC is Air Marshal Surendra Kumar Ghotia, PVSM, VSM. There are 12 Squadrons IAF and 4 Helicopter Unit Squadrons in SWAC at present. The SWAC consists of the MiG-21, MiG-29 and Su-30 air defence squadrons. The MiG-21 and MiG-23 are the ground attack squadrons. The SWAC also has a Jaguar IM Marine Attack Squadron.
5. Southern Air Command (SAC)
Southern Air Command (SAC) of The Indian Air Force (IAF) is on India’s southwest slope. This is one of the IAF’s seven commands. It began on 19 July 1984 and is comparatively new to the other commands. The need was felt to create an Operational Air Command of 18 degrees N, also includes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep Islands, in the Arabian Sea. This new command was born because of the disputes in Sri Lanka and the need to build a solid base over the Indian Ocean. Former Prime Minister of India, Lt. Smt. Indra Gandhi inaugurates the SAC.
The command rose from 5 lodger units between 1984 and 1999 to 17 lodger units under his competence. One of the command’s duties is air-sea rescue in the Indian Ocean. There are 4 Squadrons IAF and 3 Helicopter Units Squadrons at present. Therefore, the Headquarter of Southern Air Command is in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and the commander of SAC is Air Marshal Manavendra Singh, AVSM, VrC, VSM.
Functional Commands of Indian Air Force
1. Training Air Command (TC)
The Training Command is the flying and ground training command of the Indian Air Force. Thus, it was felt necessary for the IAF to be a Southeast Theatre of war self-supporting entity. The exponential growth of the IAF has arisen. 10 IAF Squadrons became the priority of this command. The demand for pilots and technical staff has risen with this extension. A Technical Training School was established at Ambala in 1940 to train technical staff. The Navigation Training School in Begumpet Air Force Station, Hyderabad is one of the Training Command units.
The BAe HS 748, the Flying Training School also the Administrative College of the Air Force flow, Bidar Air Force Station, which operates the trainer Hawk Mk 132. Meanwhile, the Hawk Operating Squadron and Weapon System Operators’ School are based at the airport. The Headquarter of Training Command is in Bangalore, Karnataka and likewise, the commander of TC is Air Marshal Rajiv Dayal Mathur, PVSM, AVSM, VSM.
2. Maintenance Air Command (MC)
The Maintenance Command is one of the IAF commands for repairs, repair & overhaul, product support, also storage & spares issuance. This work is done by means of numerous base repair depots (EDs). In 1950, the foundation of MC at Chakeri in Kanpur became a maintenance group. It was labelled Maintenance Command in 1955. It, therefore, manages all aircraft, helicopters and other vehicles, repair, overhaul and servicing. Well, MC is also responsible for overhauling and servicing different aircraft types with around 9 Base Repair depots all over India. On the whole, the headquarter of Maintenance Command is in Nagpur, Maharashtra and the commander of Maintenance Command is Air Marshal Shashiker Choudhary VSM.
Joint Commands of Indian Air Force
1. Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC)
The Command of Andaman and Nicobar (ANC) is the Indian Arm Forces’ first and only tri-service command. The headquarters of ANC is in Port Blair on Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indeed, the need for ANC by the growing deployment of military resources in the region in 2001 to safeguard India’s strategic interest in South-East Asia and Malacca. It also provides logistics and administrative assistance for ships to East Asia and the Pacific Ocean for deployment. There are 5 naval bases and also 2 Air force stations under the control of Andaman and Nicobar Command and the commander of ANC is Lieutenant General Manoj Pande, AVSM, VSM.
2. Strategic Forces Command (SFC)
The SFC, also known as the Strategic Nuclear Command, is part of India’s Nuclear Command Authority (NCA). The government of Vajpayee was formed on 4 January 2003. Until the explicit consent of the NCA, the command would be alone in the duty to initiate the process of nuclear missiles and warheads. Therefore, the SFC has presented the Defense Minister with a plan to set up two dedicated fighter squadrons that would double as the Mini-Air Force. This is also the first time that the SFC which currently has its own airborne capabilities on its command for the Indian Air Force to supply nuclear weapons. The present commander of the Strategic Force Command is Air Marshal Rajesh Kumar, AVSM, VM.
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