President’s standard awarded to IAF’s 44 Squadron and 110 Helicopter Unit

Posted in State

BAGDOGRA, March 09: President of India and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Pratibha Devi Singh Patil awarded the Presidential Standards to the IAF’s 44 Sqn and 110 HU at IAF Station Bagdogra on Wednesday.
The presidential standards are awarded to the flying formation which has completed 18 years of existence and has performed outstandingly in the operations dedicated to the nation.  The Presidential Standards are a symbol of excellence and a rare honour given to the flying formations.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony Patil said, “The 44 Squadron and 110 HU have a rich tradition of valour and courage and have rendered distinguished service to the nation since their inception.  Their personnel have put untiring efforts in pursuit of excellence and have set example for the others to emulate.  For their selfless devotion, professionalism and courage in the face of adversity, the nation honours them on the day with deep sense of gratitude and appreciation”.
The No. 44 Squadron (Mighty Jets) which is presently based at Nagpur was initially raised at Chandigarh in the year 1961 with AN-12 turboprop aircraft and is now operating the IL-76 aircraft. The exploits of this squadron are legendry.  During the Sino-Indo conflict of 1962 the AN-12 completely surprised the Chinese by airlifting AMX tanks to Chushul, situated at an altitude of 14000 feet.  During the 1971 war the Squadron was involved in the incessant bombing of Pakistani concentrations.  In 1988 the Squadron planned and executed the daring strategic intervention mission by airlifting the commandos to Maldives and thwarted the coup attempt by the mercenaries.  The 44 Sqn’s IL-76 was the first IAF aircraft to circumnavigate the globe.  The squadron has also participated in various joint air exercises with air forces of the world.
The 110 HU (Vanguards) was raised in 1962 with MI-4 helicopters and is presently operating the powerful and versatile MI-17 Helicopters from Kumbhigram.  The unit’s contribution to the North-Eastern sector of India is a saga of innumerable operations and sacrifices since its formation.  The unit participated in Op Orchid in 1964.  In 1965 Ops it provided widespread logistical support to the Indian Army.  It is this squadron which with its specialist task gave the famous acronym SHBO (Special Heliborne Operations) to the armed forces lexicon.  The squadron also participated in innumerable operations such as Op Pawan, Op Hammer, Op Suraj, and so on. It continues to contribute to SHBO, counter insurgency, relief and rescue, reconnaissance and the troop induction might of IAF by day and night (with its night vision capability).  The versatility and valour of these IAF formations have earned them the most coveted ‘Presidential Standards’.

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