17 June 2015

INDIAN AIR FORCE - Golden Jubilee Celebrations 8.10.1982

The stamp depicts the oldest and latest aircraft, the Wapiti and the Mig-25 flown by the Indian Air Force. The first day cover depicts the Insignia adopted for the Golden Jubilee Celebrations and a Jaguar aircraft.

INDIAN AIR FORCE. In the early dawn of our freedom struggle, our statesmen and leaders prevailed a strong independent India, prevailed upon the Government to form an Air Force. This vision became a reality on October 8, 1832 with the Indian Air Force Act becoming effective and the commissioning of the first batch of Indian Pilots at Cranwell in the United Kingdom. On April 1, 1933 a nucleus of the Indian Air Force comprising six officers, twenty two Hawai Sepoys and four Westland Wapiti aircraft, was formed at Drigh Road, Karachi. Four years later this small, yet effective, force operated from Miranshah in North Waziristan to subdue a rebellion which was its first battle experience.

By 1919, the IAF expanded to six flights which guarded our coastline. The outbreak of World War II brought about a very rapid expansion of the IAF. From only six flights in 1939, its strength rose to seven full squadrons in 1943 and to ten squadrons in 1945, five flying Hurricanes and the others Spitfires. All these squadrons, at one time or other, saw action in Burma and gained valuable battle experiences in a real blood and sweat war. Partition in 1947 left India with only five and a half squadrons of fighter aircraft and one transport squadron. In its wake came the greatest exodus in history. The IAF geared itself to the momentous task of evacuating people across the new border. Immediately thereafter, Kashmir was invaded and, against time and enemy fire, the Indian Army was airlifted to Srinagar in the nick of time to route the enemy. The rest is history. In 1948, the IAF was the first Asian Air Force to move into the jet-age with the acquisition of Vampires.

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