Hindon Air Force Station
|Hindon Air Force Station
हिंडन एयर फोर्स स्टेशन
|IATA: none – ICAO: VIDX|
|Airport type||Military (Indian Air Force)|
|Operator||Western Air Command|
|Location||Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh|
|Elevation AMSL||700 ft / 213.4 m|
Hindon Air Force Station (Hindon AFS) (also Hindan) is an Indian Air Force base under the Western Air Command (WAC). It is the biggest and largest air base in Asia and 8th in the world. Its area measured 14 km rounded and 55 square kilometres (21 sq mi). This base celebrates Air Force Day on 8 October. It is located near Loni Ghaziabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh in the National Capital Region on the outskirts of Delhi, close to the Hindon River. Starting 2006, the annual Air Force Day Parade venue was shifted from Palam Airport to Hindon. There is one runway, aligned east-west (09-27), of 9,000 feet (2,700 m) length x 150 feet (46 m) width.
- It currently operates Mi-17 IV from 129-HU i.e. Nubra Warriors.
- It also operates fighters and helicopters from 131 F.A.C.
- It is operating MiG-29 fighters after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks
From early 2011, several of India's first C-130J cargo planes will be based at Hindon. They will be equipped with AAQ-22 Star Safire III electro-optical/infrared sensors. This newly formed C-130J Squadron has been named the No. 77 Squadron. It was inaugurated by Defence Minister A.K. Antony. Group Captain Tejbir Singh will be the Commanding Officer. A hospital is also operational at the base.
Originally the base was home to a squadron each of MiG-23s and MiG-27s, both single-engine fighters. After the 1965 war, No. 7 Squadron IAF moved to Hindon along with Hawker Hunters, and stayed here till 1969, when it moved to Bagdogra in West Bengal, subsequently during the East Pakistan Operations 1971 it flew in on 6 December 1971. Prior to the No. 3 Squadron moved here in July 1971 and was operating Mystère IVAs at the time. After the war it moved back to Hindon, until it shifted base to Pathankot in 1975.
In mid-1980s it was identified by ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali among the 10 air bases in India prone to bird hits, due to the presence of slaughterhouses and dumping grounds in its vicinity being close to the Ghaziabad industrial city. In the coming years, the number of accidents increased.
Finally in 1997, when three plane crashes occurred within a span of few days, Hindon was abandoned as a fighter base and remained home to Avros and Mi-17 helicopters and transport aircraft in the following years, apart from being used by the IAF Aircrew Examination Board.
However in 2003, with growing terrorist threats, its importance as a strategic air base to provide air cover to the capital was realised, as Hindon-based fighters could reach the skies over New Delhi within five minutes as compared to the 15-plus minutes it would take from other closest bases, namely Sirsa, Ambala Air Force Base and Chandigarh Air Force Station, and thus Hindon was reactivated and area around it was cleaned up. September 2005, saw Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi becoming the first Chief of Air Staff to earn para wings while in office, as he finished his fifth and final para jump at Air Force Station Hindon.
In 2006, Indian Air Force shifted its 74th Anniversary celebration venue from Palam Airport in Delhi, to Hindon to avoid airspace closure for commercial traffic, where the Air Force Day Parade cum investiture ceremony was held on 8 October, and an air display by 66 aircraft. This also gave the IAF aircraft more air space during the air show, till then was uses primarily as a helicopter base. After that it has become an annual event at the station.
On 1 June 2007, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major flagged off a microlight expedition, part of the IAF’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, aiming to creating a record by completing the expedition, Around the World in 80 Days. Wing Commanders Rahul Monga and Anil Kumar reached Hindon back on 19 August, and covering 40,497 km in 80 days they achieved a speed of 21.092 km/h thus beating the previous record of 16.53 km/h set by Colin Bodil of the U.K. in 2001. Although the FAI ( Fédération Aéronautique Internationale - world governing body for air sports, aeronautics and astronautics world records) has denied their claim as both the pilots and the Indian Air Force could not furnish any proof for such a feat.
In 2007, when the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) launched a pilot project to test joint management of the airspace, Hindon was opened to civilian flights, though its open for flights only during stipulated hours of the day.
Hindon was amongst nine airfields in the Western Air Command (WAC) for the Modernisation of Air Field Infrastructure programme (MAFI), started in 2009, and due its proximity to the Delhi, work at the station which included equipping it with sensitive radars was commence first, scheduled to complete by 2011, when the first of six C-130J Hercules tactical transport aircraft are to arrive from the US, to be used be exclusively used by the Special Forces (SF). Hindon was designated to become home base for these aircraft, and for this purpose, the Hindon runway was extended and modern hangars, servicing and operations facilities suitable for the C-130J aircraft were added.
- No. 5 Squadron IAF – Jaguar IS/IB
- No. 14 Squadron IAF – Jaguar IS/IB
- No. 23 Squadron IAF – MiG-21 bis
- No. 24 Squadron IAF – MiG-21 bis
The Garud Commando Force of the Indian Air Force are trained at this base.
- Information of Hindon Air Force Base, airport-data.com, accessed 15 January 2011
- Hindan Air Station, Wikimapia, accessed 15 January 2011
- "Air Force Day Fly Past an Appeal". PIB, Ministry of Defence. 26 September 2006.
- "Air Force Day 2006 Rehearsal - Hindon AFS". Bharat Rakshak. October 2006.
- India's first C-130 heads for base in 2011, UPI, 30 December 2010, spacedaily.com, accessed 15 January 2011
- "IAF inducts the C130J aircraft into its fleet". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 5 February 2011.
- No.7 Squadron, Indian Air Force webpage Bharat Rakshak.
- No. 3 Squadron, Indian Air Force Bharat Rakshak
- "Renewed threat to Delhi forces rethink on Hindon air base". Rediff News. 16 April 2003. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- "Para wings for Chief of Air Staff". The Tribune. 29 September 2005.
- "Aerial display marks Air Force Day". The Times of India. 8 Oct 2006.
- "Scintillating show marks Air Force Day". The Tribune. 9 October 2006.
- "IAF celebrates Air Force day in style". The Times of India. 8 Oct 2010.
- "Indian Air Force’S pilots create a new world record IAF microlight expedition flies around the world in 80 days". Ministry of Defence. 19 August 2007.
- "IAF pilots create record". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 20 Aug 2007.
- "iaf world claim falls flat". The Indian Express. 19 February 2008.
- "AAI-air force pilot plan for traffic management". Mint. 22 Aug 2007.
- IAF closely monitoring Pakistan activity Express Buzz (Indian Express), 25 Dec 2008.
- "Hindon gets more airpower". MiD DAY. 2009-05-22.
- "IAF's first C-130J airlifter to arrive this week". Economic Times. 16 Jan 2011.[dead link]