Belgaum camp along with an airstrip was built in the early 1940s. This camp was set up as South Eastern Headquarters of the Allied Forces during World War II.
Situated adjacent to Belgaum airport, it was an ideal, peaceful and serene location for the grit and grind of military training of RAF in 1942. A three-foot pillar erected by RAF in 1942-43 stands as a memento and reminds us of RAF days at Belgaum.
The airstrip at Sambra was built in the 1940s. No 672 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was active at Sambra Base during World War II from February 26 to 30, 1945. The squadron was moved to Sambra to use it for airborne operations by South East Asia Command.
In 1948, Belgaum base camp was taken over by the Special Reserve Police of Karnataka. In 1961, a detachment landed at this base to carry out specific operations for Goa liberation. No 1 GTS, located at Jalahalli, was shifted to Sambra, Belgaum in 1963. It was renamed as Administrative Training Institute (ATI) in 1980.
Later, the ATI was renamed as Airmen Training School (ATS) in 2001. It was reassigned the task of conducting Joint Basic Phase Training (JBPT).
In 1961, the Indian Air Force was tasked to provide air support to the massive ground force deployed for Goa Liberation. The AOC-in-C of the Western Air Command, Air Vice Marshal Eric Pinto, was appointed theatre commander of the IAF operations for Goa Liberation.
It was at Sambra that most of the air components were concentrated. No 45 Squadron had their main detachment of 8 aircraft based there. No 17 Squadron had one detachment of Hunters for air defence. Harvards, Otters and Mi-4 helicopters performed the communication and command duties.
During 'Operation Vijay', 6 Hunters of No 17 Squadron led by the CO, Squadron Leader Jayawant Singh took off from Sambra airstrip and attacked the wireless station at Bambolim, Goa. The attack soon left the wireless station a smouldering wreck. The Portuguese were forced to surrender on December 19, 1961.
All Through Training pattern (ATT), imparting complete training at one go for airmen trainees, was in vogue in IAF till September 2004. Under this pattern, the duration of the basic phase training was of 24 weeks. However, duration of trade training varied for different trades. Subsequently, Encapsulated Pattern of Training (EPT) was introduced in October 2004. It was known as Just In Time Training (JITT). Under EPT, trainees had to undergo four capsules of trade training. This pattern of training was in vogue till 2006.
With the introduction of re-structured trades in IAF, the Modular Pattern of Training (MPT) came into effect from April, 2006. Under MPT, training is conducted in modules. All ab-initio trainees undergo JBPT of 12 weeks at Basic Training Institute (BTI). It is followed by modules of trade training at various Trade Training Institutes. The trainees undergo three modules in the first eight years of their service.
All ab-initio airmen recruits undergo twelve weeks of Joint Basic Phase Training (JBPT) which aims to inculcate service ethos, value system and military bearing amongst the recruits. The Institute conducts four JBPT courses annually and trains 8800 ab-initio trainees every year.
BTI is headed by a Chief Instructor of the rank of Wing Commander. The recruits are trained at five different Squadrons, namely Katre, Lal, Latif, Majumdar & Mehar. The curriculum includes General Service Training (GST) and General Service Knowledge (GSK), apart from focus on improving the standard of English, Hindi and Basic Computer knowledge.
In addition to the above, Field Craft Training Camp (FCTC) is also conducted in order to acquaint the trainees with field situations and survival techniques.
Adequate sports and games events are organised, to instil sportsmanship, camaraderie and to emphasize the importance of physical fitness among the trainees. Software named 'KARM' has been successfully developed by this Station for allotting trades to the airmen recruits.
ATS, Belgaum's vision is to ensure quality training during JBPT, and to mould raw recruits into potential Air Warriors within a span of twelve weeks.
ATS Belgaum's mission focuses on JBPT with high standard of training, by inculcating military ethos and espirit de corps among the Air Warriors. The mission also focuses on preparing them to take over the multi-skilled tasks of the IAF.
The role of the Non-Technical Training Institute is to impart modular trade training of non-technical trades. These trades consist of Administrative Assistant, Accounts Assistant and Education Instructors.
The Air Force School of Physical Fitness was formed on February 1, 1976 with an intention of promoting greater awareness about physical fitness.
It is responsible for conducting courses like Officers' Physical training course and Advanced Refresher course for Ground Training Instructors. Besides, Assistant Instructors Basic Physical Training Course is conducted for airmen of all trades.
Yoga is conducted on all Saturdays. Training on standard obstacle is imparted to the trainees to enable them to surmount similar types of obstacle a soldier is likely to come across in field situations. Besides, swimming proficiency and life saving methods are also imparted.
Construction of a 1000-trainee accommodation is underway at the Station to meet futuristic training requirements. The Station has also taken an initiative to make itself a paperless organisation. As of now 19 classrooms are equipped with interactive 'IDEA' boards, matching the latest trends in the fields of training. As part of Vision 2020, the Station aims to equip all the classrooms with latest training aids and ergonomics.
ATS, Belgaum has handsomely contributed towards crafting a disciplined and valuable work force, capable of undertaking challenging multi-skilled tasks of restructured trades in the future.
inputs: Wg Cdr Gerard Galway