Indian Air Force is the Air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its basic responsibility and motive is to secure the Indian airspace and to fight during a conflict, defensively as well as offensively. The Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October 1932.
An aircraft is a basic component of any Air force. The aircraft is complemented and supplemented by ground defence missiles, helicopters, Radar devices, transport aircrafts, etc. Hence the entire service is engaged in the flying of aircraft and the Pilot is the key person in the Air Force. For operational readiness of the flying machines, infrastructural strength of highly trained and qualified man power is a necessity. Air Force requires the highest number of maintenance personnel.
Indian Air Force's strength is approximately 170,000 personnel and 1,300 aircraft, which makes the Indian Air Force, world's fourth largest air force after the United States Air Force, Russian Air Force and China's People's Liberation Army Air Force.
IAF has been a part of four wars with Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include –
• Operation Vijay - the invasion of Goa,
• Operation Meghdoot,
• Operation Cactus and
• Operation Poomalai.
Apart from conflicts, the IAF has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
Indian Air Force Air Bases can be categorized into various types - Operational Units like Wings, Forward Base Support Units, and Care & Maintenance Units. None Operational Units consist of Air Force Stations, Base Repair Depots
Transporters and Helicopters
The IAF has a sizable fixed and rotary winged transport fleet, the IAF transport and helicopter formations contribute more than half of the IAF's annual flying hours. Operating out of some of the world most dangerous and inhospitable airstrips, the IAF's transport and helicopter formations play a crucial role in keeping the Indian Army and Air Force supplied.
The IAF offers a very rigorous flying training schedule for its pilots. Before being assigned to operational squadrons, pilots are expected to log over 300 hours of flying at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels. The Indian Armed Forces has set up numerous military academies across India for training its personnel. Military schools, Sainik Schools, and the Rashtriya Indian Military College were founded to broaden the recruitment base of the Defence Forces. The three branches of the Indian Armed Forces operate several institutions such as the National Defence Academy (NDA), Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), National Defence College (NDC) and the College of Defence Management (CDM) for training its officers. The Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) at Pune is responsible for providing the entire pool of medical staff to the Armed Forces by giving them in service training.
Garuda Commando Force
The Garuda Commando Force is the Special Forces unit of the Indian Air Force. It was created in September 2004 and has strength of approximately 1500 personnel. Garuda is tasked with the protection of critical Air Force bases and installations; search and rescue during peace and hostilities and disaster relief during calamities. During hostilities, Garudas undertake combat search and rescue, rescue of downed airmen and other forces from behind enemy lines, suppression of enemy air defence, radar busting, combat control, missile and munitions guidance and other missions in support of air operations.
The Air Force can be divided in two parts
Ranks in the Indian Air Force