Helicopter Training School (HTS) is the alma mater of all helicopter pilots of the Indian Air Force. The humble origins of this premier school dates back to April 2, 1962 when it was raised at Palam with a modest strength of two trainees and two Bell-47 helicopters. The school has ever since evolved in stature and capabilities and today nearly 100 trainees pass out of its portals every year. HTS also holds the privilege of being the largest helicopter unit of the Indian Armed Forces.
The Unit, ever since its inception, has been at the forefront rendering aid to civil authorities in the southern central peninsula. It has rendered yeomen service by ensuring timely help during the unprecedented floods that affected Kurnool district last year. The Air Warriors of Helicopter Training School have shown their grit, determination, professionalism and, most importantly, empathy for the countrymen in need.
The unit has always reacted proactively and instantly, whenever called upon. Be it cyclone relief operations in Sri Lanka in 1978 and in AP in 1979 and 1990 or flood relief operations in 1980, 1984, 1986, 1989, 2000, 2005 and 2009 or, for that matter, earthquake relief operations in Latur area in 1993. In the 30-odd years since its move to Hakimpet, HTS has flown staggering 856 hours in 986 sorties in aid to civil authorities. In these missions, 3,73,662 Ibs of relief material have been dropped and 326 souls have been airlifted/winched to safety.
Number 48 Squadron was raised on November 19, 1959 at Barrackpore and has served in all operational commands of the Indian Air Force. The squadron has operated Dakotas, Packetts and AN-32 aircraft. The Dakotas of the unit were the aerial lifeline in NEFA till they were eventually replaced by the Packett aircraft. The squadron was re-equipped with the AN-32 aircraft and moved to its present location, Chandigarh in 1986. Since then it has formed an aerial bridge for the Indian Forces in J&K sector across the Himalayan Ranges.
Other than regular air-landing and air-drop missions in Siachen Glacier, Karakoram ranges, Indus and Shyok valleys, the squadron has been undertaking air-landing operations to Kargil advanced landing grounds (ALG) towards operation Sadbhavana. In a quest to enhance the operational capability, successful night landings were carried out at Leh and Thoise airfields in July 1996 and May 2000 respectively. The unit contributed towards counter insurgency, counter-terrorist operations and aid to civil authorities consistently in all sectors of the country.
In the year 2008, the squadron displayed exceptional professionalism and grit by reactivating Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), the world's highest ALG, after a gap of nearly four decades. Regular operations to DBO ALG have been sustained ever since, contributing to IAF's potential and morale for the Army troops. The squadron has also successfully carried out trial landings at Fukche and Nyoma ALGs, located close to the India-China border. The squadron achieved another milestone when it carried out a company level para-drop in a three aircraft formation at Nyoma DZ. It proved its worth in overseas missions. The unit was also selected to participate in the prestigious Zhuhai international air show in China in the year 2008. The squadron was awarded the Presidential Colours on February15, 2007.
The 3004 Squadron was formed on september 20, 2004 at Nalia with the designated task of carrying out intelligence through surveillance and reconnaissance within the Kutch sector. In the course of its duties, the squadron has been a source of real time imagery and intelligence of incursions into the Indian territory which has been instrumental in countering and checking infiltrations. The squadron has assisted the Indian Army, Navy, Coast Gurad and BSF in various missions. The squadron has also successfully flown a single continuous mission of 34 hours duration, a record with no parallel till date.
For its sustained good performance along the Line of Control in checking and preventing infiltration and related enemy actions to bring laurels to the IAF, Number 3004 Squadron was awarded the citation by Chief of Air Staff.
Number 27 Squadron, the "Flaming Arrows", was formed at Adampur on February 15, 1957. The squadron took part in operation Vijay for the liberation of Goa in 1960 and also took part in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak conflicts.
The squadron was the first to be deployed at Leh during operation Meghdoot with Hunter aircraft in 1984. It was re-equipped with Jaguars in January 1985 with deep penetration strike and EW roles. It took part in operation Safed Sagar in Kargil sector in July 1999. The squadron was the first to be deployed for operation Parakram on December 16, 2001. The squadron initiated a new era of strategic reach for the IAF by being the first to carry out air-to-air refuelling with IL-78 flight refuelling aircraft in March 2003.
In October last year, the squadron participated and excelled in the international exercise, Eastern Bridge with the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) at Thumrait Air Force base in Oman undertaking joint missions with the RAFO Jaguars and F-16 aircraft and achieved 38 out of 40 direct hits. The squadron also flew more missions in the exercise than the two Jaguar squadrons and one F-16 squadron of RAFO while maintaining a 100 per cent serviceability.
In December last year the squadron was deployed at Jaisalmer for exercise Shock Effect. For the first time in the history of Jaguar aircraft, twenty 1000-pound bombs were dropped successfully in one detail on the very first day of the exercise. Followed by this, in April this year, the squadron participaated in exercise Abhyas where it accomplished all the assigned missions with 100 per cent mission launch and serviceability throughout the exercise .