Indian Air Force(IAF) Day is annually observed across India on October 8 to commemorate the establishment of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 1932.
- 8th October 2023 marks the celebration of the 91st Anniversary of the Indian Air Force.
- The Indian Air Force is also known as Bharatiya Vayu Sena.
The theme of Indian Air Force Day 2023 is ‘IAF – Airpower Beyond Boundaries’.
- The theme reflects the IAF’s commitment to protecting India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its ability to operate in any environment.
i.The Indian Air Force (IAF) was founded on October 8, 1932, with six Hawker Hart biplanes under the name Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF).
- RIAF was part of the British Royal Air Force.
- The 1st aircraft came into being on April 1, 1933, with 6 (Royal Air Force)RAF-trained officers and 19 Hawai Sepoys.
ii.During World War II, the RIAF played an important role in supporting British forces in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
iii.After India gained independence in 1947, the RIAF was renamed the IAF.
- The IAF started with a diverse fleet of aircraft, including the Hawker Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire.
iv.Now, IAF is one of the four branches of the Indian Armed Forces.
91st Anniversary events:
i.The Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrated the day in Air Force Station Bamrauli in Prayagraj (formerly known as Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh.
ii.The Air Force Day parade (a showcase of the IAF’s personnel and equipment) and Air Display(display of aerial acrobatics and aerobatics) are two of the most important events.
- These two events were held at the Sangam confluence area, where the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers meet.
iii.Over 100 aircraft, including Rafale fighter jets, Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, and Tejas light combat aircraft participated in the Air Display.
iv.A woman officer, Group Captain Shaliza Dhamia (a helicopter pilot), led the Indian Air Force Day parade for the first time ever.
- She is also the first woman to take command of a frontline IAF combat unit in March, 2023.
New Indian Air Force Ensign
i.As part of the events, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari unveiled the new IAF Ensign.
ii.The new ensign will feature the IAF crest in the top right corner(towards the fly side), which includes the national symbol of the Ashoka lion on top with the wordings – “सत्यमेव जयते” Satyameva Jayate – Truth alone Triumphs(in Devanagari) and a Himalayan eagle with its wings spread below it.
- A ring in light blue colour encircles the Himalayan eagle with the words “भारतीय वायु सेना” – Indian Air Force
iii. The motto of the IAF was taken from verse 24, Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita and means “Radiant Thou Touchest Heaven” or in other words “नभः स्पृशं दीप्तम्” “Touching the sky with Glory”.
iv.Previously, the IAF ensign included the Union Jack and RAF roundels, which were replaced with the Indian tricolour and IAF roundels after independence.
- In 2022, the Indian Navy also adopted a new ensign to remove colonial symbols.
i.The legendary Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG)-21 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) took its final air display flight on IAF day 2023.
- The IAF is replacing these Russian-made squadrons with the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark 1A by 2025.
ii.The MiG-21 was introduced into the IAF in 1963.
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The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Raising Day, also known as CRPF Foundation Day, is annually celebrated on 27th July to commemorate the establishment of CRPF, the largest of India’s Central Armed Police Forces, functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India (GoI).
About Indian Air Force (IAF):
Chief of the Air Staff – VR Chaudhari
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Established in – 1932
Motto – Touching the sky with Glory