October 8th is celebrated as Indian Air Force Day. Several nations of the world hold an annual Armed Forces Day to recognize, venerate, and honor their military forces. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. The Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October 1932. The primary responsibility of Indian Air Force is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict.
History of the Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force was established in British India as an auxiliary air force of the Royal Air Force with the enactment of the Indian Air Force Act 1932 on 8 October that year and adopted the Royal Air Force uniforms , badges, brevets and insignia. On 1 April 1933, the IAF commissioned its first squadron, No.1 Squadron, with four Westland Wapiti biplanes and five Indian pilots. The Indian pilots were led by Flight Lieutenant (later Air Vice Marshal) Cecil Bouchier. Until 1938, No. 1 Squadron remained the only squadron of the IAF, though two more flights were added.
Since independence, the IAF has been involved in four wars with neighboring Pakistan and one with the People’s Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay – the invasion of Goa, Operation Meghdoot and Operation Cactus. Apart from conflicts, the IAF has been an active participant in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions.
Indian Air Force Mission
The IAF’s mission is defined by the Armed Forces Act of 1947, Constitution of India and the Air Force Act of 1950, in the aerial battlespace, as:
” Defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence and all such acts as may be conducive in times of war to its prosecution and after its termination to effective demobilisation. ”
Thus, the IAF has the primary objective of safeguarding Indian territory and national interests from all threats in conjunction with the other branches of the armed forces by defending Indian airspace. The IAF provides close air support to the Indian Army troops in the battlefield and also provides strategic and tactical airlift capabilities. The IAF also operates the Integrated Space Cell together with the other two branches of the Indian Armed Forces, the civilian Department of Space and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to utilize more effectively the country’s space-based assets for military purposes and to look into threats to these assets.
Indian Air Force Commands and Structure
The Indian Air Force is divided into five operational and two functional commands. Each Command is headed by an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of Air Marshal. The purpose of an operational command is to conduct military operations using aircraft within its area of responsibility, whereas the responsibility of functional commands is to maintain combat readiness.
- Central Air Command (CAC), headquartered at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
- Eastern Air Command (EAC), headquartered at Shillong, Meghalaya
- Southern Air Command (SAC), headquartered at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
- South Western Air Command (SWAC), headquartered at Gandhinagar, Gujarat
- Western Air Command (WAC), headquartered at Subroto Park, New Delhi
- Training Command (TC), headquar tered at Bangalore, Karnataka
- Maintenance Command (MC), headquartered at Nagpur, Maharashtra
Ranks of the Indian Air Force
- Marshal of the Air Force 1
- Air Chief Marshal
- Air Marshal
- Air Vice Marshal
- Air Commodore
- Group Captain
- Wing Commander
- Squadron Leader
- Flight Lieutenant
- Flying Officer
- Pilot Officer 2
1 Honorary/War time rank.
2 Rank no longer exist.
Junior Commissioned Officer Ranks
- Master Warrant Officer
- Warrant Officer
- Junior Warrant Officer
- Leading Aircraftsman
Air Force Day In Different Countries:
Silahlı Qüvvələr Günü (English: Day of the Armed Forces) is celebrated on June 26.
Australia and New Zealand
ANZAC Day is a public holiday celebrated on April 25 for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). The date commemorates the landings in 1915 at Anzac Cove by Australian and New Zealand forces, the beginning of the costly Gallipoli campaign against the Ottoman Empire in World War I.
Bangladesh observe Armed Forces Day on 21 November to mark the occasion of Tri- Services joint operation against occupation Pakistani forces in Liberation War 1971.
In Brazil, Dia do Soldado (English: Soldier’s Day) is celebrated on August 25, the birthday of war hero Luís Alves de Lima e Silva.. In October 23 is celebrated O Dia do Aviador (Aviator’s Day). In December 13 is celebrated O Dia do Marinheiro (Sailor’s Day).
The Day of Bravery is commemorated every year on the 6th of May, The Feast of Saint George, who is the patron saint of the Bulgarian Army.
In Canada, Canadian Forces Day is the first Sunday in June and is strictly a celebration of Canada’s armed services, their heritage, and their personnel. Many individual bases also celebrate an “Armed Forces Day” where part of a base is opened to the public for military demonstrations by various units, including airshows at air bases, and engineering, armored and infantry displays at army bases. The date chosen by base commanders for each base’s Armed Forces Day is typically on a weekend during the summer months.
In Chile, Día de las Glorias del Ejército is a national holiday celebrated every September 19, a day after the independence day, with the “Parada Militar”, a parade where all the branches of the armed forces display some of their troops and equipment in a special part of “Parque O’Higgins” in Santiago. Several other smaller parades can be seen on other cities of the country, as well as air displays by the air force.
Armed Forces Day in China is celebrated in the Republic of China on September 3. Pursuant to Article 5 of the Order to Implement Commemoration Days and Holidays. The Ministry of National Defense determines how to allow a day off for the military personnel. This is not a public holiday in Taiwan, but relevant institutions, groups, and schools may hold celebrating activities.
In Croatia, the Dan Oružanih snaga Republike Hrvatske (English: Day of the Croatian Armed Forces) is celebrated on May 28 in celebration of its formation on that day in 1991.
In Egypt, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on October 6, the date on which the October War of 1973 began with the Egyptian Army’s successful crossing of the Suez Canal that culminated in the capture of the Bar Lev Line.
In Guatemala, Día del Ejército is celebrated on June 30. It is remembered because in 1871 the Liberal Revolution or “Revolución Liberal”, led by Miguel García Granados and Justo Rufino Barrios, marched on the streets of Guatemala City putting an end to the Conservadora administration formerly headed by Rafael Carrera.
In Hungary Day of Patriots and Military is celebrated on May 21.
In India, the Army, Navy and Air Force celebrate their own Army Day (January 15), the Navy Day (December 4) and the IAF Day (October 8) respectively. But on Republic Day (January 26), all three services display their full colours and guard of honour.
Hari Tentara Nasional Indonesia (English: Indonesian National Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on October 5, the day of foundation of the Tentara Keamanan Rakyat (English: People’s Security Army), the predecessor of TNI.
Rouz-e Artesh (English: Army Day) is celebrated on April 18, currently it coincides with the birthday of the current Supreme Leader of Iran.
Yom Hazikaron (English: Memorial Day) is observed on the 4th day of the month of Iyar of the Hebrew calendar, always preceding the next day’s celebrations of Israel Independence Day, Yom Ha-Atzma’ut, on the 5th day of Iyar, the anniversary of the Proclamation of the State of Israel in 1948. This holiday honors veterans and fallen military personnel of the Israel Defense Forces who died in the modern Arab Israeli conflict.
Giorno delle Forze Armate (English: Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on November 4 to remember the Italian victory in the First World War. On November 4, 1918, Austrian-Hungarian forces agreed to a cease fire, thus ending the war on Italian front.
Lebanese Armed Forces (English: Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on August 1.
Mauritanian Armed Forces (English: Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on July 10.
Mexican Armed Forces (English: Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on February 19 since 1950, in commemoration of the decree that created them on 1917.
Dan Vojske Crne Gore (English: Day of the Army) is celebrated on October 6.
In Myanmar, Tatmadaw Nay (English: Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on March 27 in commemoration of the start of Burmese army’s resistance to Japanese occupation in 1945.
In Nigeria, Armed Forces Day or Remembrance Day is celebrated on January 15. It was formally marked on November 11 of every year to coincide with the Remembrance Day (Poppy Day) for the World War veterans in all Commonwealth of Nations. But it was changed to January 15 of every year in Nigeria in commemoration the January 1966 when the first shot was fired to start the process that metamorphosed into the Nigerian Civil War.
In Pakistan,the Federal Army, Navy and Air Force celebrate Army Day (September 6), the Navy Day (September 8) and the PAF Day (September 7) respectively. But during Military rule it is on the Independence Day (August 14).
In Peru, the Día de las Fuerzas Armadas del Perú (English: Peruvian Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on September 24.
In Poland, the Armed Forces Day is celebrated on August 15 and was created to memoralize Miracle at the Vistula.
In Romania, the Armed Forces Day is celebrated on October 25 – on this day, in 1944, the Romanian Army liberated Carei, the last Romanian city under foreign occupation.
The Romania–Hungary border had been reached a few days earlier, but the troops rested, completing the liberation of Romania as a gift to King Michael I of Romania on his birthday.
In Russia, the Dyen’ zaschitnika Otechestva (English: Defender of the Fatherland Day) is celebrated on February 23.
In Slovenia, Dan Slovenske vojske (English: Day of the Slovenian Army) is on 15 May each year.
In South Korea Armed Forces Day falls on October 1, the day that South-Korean forces broke through the 38th parallel in 1950 during the Korean War. It is not a national holiday or public day off, but a National Flag Raising Day to recognizes and honor the military forces of the Republic of Korea
In Sri Lanka each armed services celebrates its own Army Day (October 9), the Navy Day (December 9) and the Air Force Day (March 2) respectively. However all armed services celebrates Independence day (February 4) with a military parade in which they display their full colours.
The first UK Armed Forces Day took place on 27 June 2009, it replaced Veterans’ Day which was first observed in 2006. The 27th of June was chosen as it marked the day after the anniversary of the first investiture ceremony for the Victoria Cross, held on 26 June 1857.
In the United States, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. It falls near the end of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May.
The day was created in 1949 to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches – the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard – following the consolidation of the military services in the Department of Defense. It was intended to replace the separate Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Days, but the separate days are still observed, especially within the respective services.
In Vietnam, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on December 22, the date of establishment of the Armed Propaganda Unit for National Liberation, the predecessor to the Vietnam People’s Army.