The Indian Army Aviation Corps, formed in November 1986, was created with the aim of providing the Indian Army with an air component to provide combat and combat support in coordinated operations as an integrated member of the Combined Arms Team.
The Army Aviation Corps was immediately inducted into “Operation Pawan” which was a crucial test for the newly formed Corps. In more ways than one, it was truly Army Aviation’s baptism by fire and they responded with pride and elan. With the Chetak helicopters taking on the logistic tasks, the Cheetahs christened as Ranjits, operated aggressively mounted with their medium machine guns.
Year 1942 saw the inception of the Army Aviation wing of the RAF in India and the first Indian Air Observation Post flight was raised in August 1947. The Air Observation Post remained a small and elite arm throughout the 1950s and on the eve of the 1965 war, the Air Observation Post comprised of only one Squadron and four Flights. The Indo- Pak Wars of 1965 and 1971 were fields and skies of glory for this small band of the winged warriors and aviators made a name for themselves with their innumerable acts of valour and gallantry in the skies. While the Chetaks were inducted in the Army in March 1969, the first of the Cheetas were inducted in 1971.
The Army Aviation Corps emerged from the erstwhile Air OP units of the Indian Army that were tasked primarily to support field artillery. With the creation of the Army Aviation Corps and the transfer of the Indian Air Force’s light helicopters, the Army Aviation Corps was utilised principally for reconnaissance and observation missions. Contemporarily, however, with the induction of the Advanced Light Helicopter, the Indian Army Aviation’s role in the Combined Arms Team has expanded significantly.
Army Aviation Corps Role and Training
Training is imparted to all candidates at the Combat Army Aviation Training School (CATS) at Nashik. The Army Aviation training was previously conducted in School of Artillery, Deolali. But now it is carried out in an independent Combat Air Training School also at Deolali.
The Cheetah helicopter simulator has been set up at Combat Army Aviation Training School (CATS). It is expected to reduce substantial cost in training and also to reduce pilot risk during training. The simulator is designed to expose the trainee to different weather conditions like snow, rain, storm and different terrains in addition to night flying training in handling emergencies, tactical handling of the flying machine, its different maneuvers and more.
Army Aviation Corps pilots are drawn from other combat arms, including artillery officers. The Indian Air Force flies attack helicopters such as the Mil Mi-25/Mi-35 and HAL Rudra, which are under the operational control of the army. Helicopters such as the HAL Chetak, HAL Cheetah and HAL Dhruv provide logistical support for the Indian Army in remote and inaccessible areas.
The Army Aviation Corps also perform combat search and rescue (CSAR), artillery lift, combat transportation, logistics relief, military prisoner transportation and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) in wartime and during natural disasters.
The project to install a simulator was proposed in December 2000 and approved in April 2002, with CATS Nashik chosen as the centre for installation. Macmet Technologies Ltd, which won the bid over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), completed the project. After stringent checks, the facility was accepted by the army.
Army Aviation Corps Aircrafts
|ATTACK||HAL Rudra, HAL LCH|
|TRANSPORT||HAL Dhruv, HAL Chetak, HAL Cheetah and Cheetal|
Army Aviation Corps Decorations
|(a) Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM);||05|
|(b) Maha Vir Chakra (MVC)||02|
|(c) Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM)||03|
|(d) Vir Chakra (VrC)||16|
|(e) Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM)||10|
|(f) Shaurya Chakra (SC)||11|
|(g) Yudh Seva Medal (YSM)||08|
|(h) Sena Medal (SM)||86|
|(j) Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM)||27|
|(k) Vayu Sena Medal||09|
|(m) Chief of Army Staff Commendation Cards/Chief of Air Staff Commendation Cards||154|
How To Apply For Army Aviation Corps
- Cadets undergoing training can apply for army aviation during training and they will get army aviation depends on their merit and performance, also on vacancies in army aviation at that point of time.
- Serving officers can apply for Indian army aviation as and when there are vacancies.