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President’s Standard awarded to two IAF squadrons

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President Pranab Mukherjee presented President’s Standard to two Indian Air Force (IAF) squadrons based in Hasimara, West Bengal. Hasimara is an Indian Air Force (IAF) station around 15 km away from India-Bhutan border. It has two Mig 27 squadrons and Akash missile systems.

  • The squadrons which have been honoured are the 18 Squadron and the 22 Squadron.
  • The 18 Squadron aka “Flying Bullets” and came to be known as “Defenders of Kashmir Valley” during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
  • The 22 Squadron was formed in 1966 in Bareilly and is known as “The Swifts”.

President’s Standard awarded to two IAF squadronsAbout 18 Squadron
The 18 Squadron was formed in Ambala in 1965 and initially flew the Gnat fighters.

  • It was also the first fighter squadron to operate from Srinagar after Independence making maiden sorties in 1968.
  • In the 1971 war, the 18 Squadron flew in escort duties with Mystere and Vampire across the Pir Panjal mountain ranges.
  • In 1989, the squadron converted to Mig 27 fighters.

About 22 Squadron
In the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war, the squadron drew first blood by shooting down three Pakistani F-86 Sabre jets.

  • It was flying the Gnat Mk-1 aircraft at that time and got the MiG 27 fighters in 1990.
  • The 22 Squadron was involved in Operation Vijay and Operation Parakram as well.

About President’s standard honour
The award of President’s standard is one of the highest honours bestowed upon an Air Force Unit or a Squadron in recognition of exceptional service rendered by it to the nation both during war and in peace.