President Pranab Mukherjee will present the Presidential Standard to two units of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Ambala on November 10 including the Barnala-based 501 Signals Unit and Pune based 30 Squadron which flies Su-30 MKI fighters. Giving this information here today, Air Marshal SB Deo, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, said that both the units had been selected for their persistent excellent performance ever since being raised in the IAF.
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501 Signals Unit (SU) is a radar unit with the responsibility of defending Punjab sector opposite Pakistan. The unit was raised in 1964 by Wing Commander S Chand and is presently being commanded by Group Captain Vineet Jindal. The effects of this unit’s operational activities are so critical that in an attempt to neutralise this unit, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Star Fighter aircraft (F-104) attacked the unit on December 4, 1971. Radio Pakistan aired their success and claimed that they were able to destroy the radar, but the unit resumed operations within few hours and continued operations for rest of the war.
The capabilities of this Air Defence Direction Centre (ADDC) were further enhanced and strengthened with the induction of “Aerostat Programmable Radar” in 2004. This radar system is deployed at an altitude of 15,000 feet and provides much needed low level coverage deep inside Pakistan. 501 SU became the first Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) Tactical Node of IAF in 2010. With availability of seamless air picture, the unit is now capable of controlling the air traffic from a remote location, said an IAF officer.
30 Squadron of the IAF was formed in 1969 with the MiG-21 FL aircraft at Air Force Station, Tezpur. Wg Cdr V S Chaddha was the first Commanding Officer and presently the unit is located at Air Force Station, Pune operating the ‘Sukhoi 30 MKI’ fourth generation fighter aircraft under the command of Wg Cdr AA Phansalkar.
The squadronn has played a significant role in making the Su-30 MKI operational within a short span of time since its induction into the IAF. It has participated in six protracted phases of user evaluation trials with the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE) since 2004. It has also been a part of several indigenously conducted system and weapon integration trials.
The IAF’s Suryakiran and Sarang aerobatics team comprising of Hawk aircraft and Dhruv Helicopters will also perform at the ceremony held to present the Standards, informed Air Commodore Tejinder Singh, Air Officer Commanding, Ambala.