Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa Current Affairs - 2019

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IAF resurrects 17th Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ to operate Rafale aircraft

Indian Air Force (IAF) has resurrected the Air Force Station (AFS) Ambala-based Number 17 Squadron, also known as ‘Golden Arrows’, which will operate the 1st squadron of Rafale fighter jets in near future. The resurrection ceremony of 17th Squadron was presided over by IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa.

First batch of Rafale jets are scheduled to be formally handed over to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 8 October in France and are set to arrive in India in May 2020.

IAF also plans to resurrect another former MiG-21 squadron, 101 Squadron also called as ‘Falcons’, which too was ‘number-plated’ (removed from active list, and its identity mothballed for future use) and were later decommissioned as part of IAF’s long-term plan to phase decades-old aircraft out of service. 101 Squadron, the 2nd Rafale squadron, will be based in Hashimara to operate on Sino-Indian front.

About 17th Squadron: ‘Golden Arrows’

The resurrected17 Squadron aka Golden Arrows will be the first IAF squadron to be equipped with state of the art Rafale fighter aircraft. Rafale is an extremely capable, 4th generation, multirole aircraft with advanced weapons.

This Rafale squadron will be based in Ambala and operationally committed to India-Pakistan frontier.

Combat history of 17 Squadron: It was formed at Ambala in 1951 and was equipped with Harvard-II B fighter. By November 1955, the Squadron converted fully to De Havilland Vampire and by 1957 Hawker Hunter fighter aircraft were flown by ‘Golden Arrows’, which it flew with distinction in 1971 war (Bangladesh Liberation War), winning numerous gallantry awards.

In December 1961, Golden Arrows actively participated in Goa Liberation Campaign and in 1965 operations as a reserve force.

In 1975, the Squadron converted to Mig-21 M and on November 1988, the Squadron was presented ‘Colours’ by then President of India R Venkataraman.

Under the command of then Wing Commander and current ACM BS Dhanoa, the squadron distinguished itself in Operation ‘Safed Sagar’ (or 1999 kargil conflict).

IAF launches 3D mobile video game Indian Air Force: A cut Above

Indian Air Force (IAF) has launched 3D air-borne combat based mobile video game called ‘Indian Air Force: A cut above’. It was launched by Air Chief Marshal B. S. Dhanoa at National Bal Bhawan, New Delhi. It is second such video game launched by IAF, earlier it had Guardians of the Skies’ in 2014 and has got over a million downloads. It is similar to older Guardians of Skies game including controls and graphics, but has new storyline along with some gameplay changes.

Indian Air Force: A cut above

  • It is aimed at making youth aware about IAF and encourage them to join the armed forces. It will also provide gamers virtual experience of airborne combats.
  • It is available on both Android and iOS platforms (phones) and will engage audience above the age of 14.
  • It has been developed by Delhi-based Threye Interactive, which earlier also had made similar game “Guardians of Skies” for IAF in 2014.
  • It is themed on various aerial combats and missions, including airstrikes, undertaken by IAF. It has total of 10 missions, and each mission has further three sub-missions.
  • Its various missions, include, airstrikes, air-to-air refuelling, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR).
  • It also has career navigator and augmented reality (AR) sections which will give a realistic feel of the IAF’s assets to the user.
  • It also features character sporting gunslinger moustache similar to that of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman`s, who was captured and later released by Pakistan after his aircraft was shot down in aerial dogfight which broke out in aftermath of February 2019 Balakot airstrikes.

Abhinandan Varthaman

He holds unique distinction of being only pilot in the world to have shot down an F-16 combat aircraft from his vintage MiG-21 Bison aircraft on February 27, 2019 during aerial conflict with Pakistan. He was held captive by Pakistani authorities on February 27, 2019 after his MiG 21 Bison went down during beyond visual range combat with Pakistani jets. He was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army when his parachute drifted and fell inside PoK. Later he was handed over to India.