A ‘RESURRECTION ceremony’ for 17 Squadron, Indian Air Force, which will operate the Rafale aircraft upon its induction, was held at Air Force Station Ambala on Tuesday.
The 17 Squadron had been ‘number plated’, an IAF term which means that the squadron had been retired from service after the MiG-21 aircraft that were part of its inventory were phased bout. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, who had commanded this squadron, presided over the ceremony on Tuesday.
The Air Chief presented a memento to Group Captain Harkirat Singh, Commanding Officer of the squadron, to commemorate the occasion.
The 17 Squadron was formed at Ambala on October 1, 1951, under the command of Flight Lieutenant D L Springett and was then equipped with Harvard-II B aircraft. By November 1955, the squadron converted fully to De Havilland Vampire and by 1957, Hawker Hunter aircraft were flown by the ‘Golden Arrows’, as the squadron is known. The squadron converted to the MiG-21 M in 1975.
The squadron actively participated in Goa Liberation Campaign in December 1961 and in 1965 operations as a reserve force. Under the command of Wing Commander N Chatrath, 17 Squadron took part in the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and flew close air support, counter air and fighter recce missions, getting numerous gallantry awards.
On November 1988, the Squadron was presented ‘Colours’ by the then President R Venkataraman. Under the command of the then Wing Commander B S Dhanoa, Golden Arrows participated actively in Operation ‘Safed Sagar’ in Kargil conflict in 1999.
In the near future 17 Squadron will be the first squadron to be equipped with the state-of-the-art Rafale aircraft, which is a fourth generation, multirole aircraft with advanced weapons.