Central Air Command

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Central Air Command, Indian Air Force
CAC Crest.jpg
Emblem of the Central Air Command
FoundedMarch 19, 1962
BranchIndian Air Force
TypeOperational Air Command
RoleAir Defence, OCA, Offensive Ground Support, Airlift.
Motto(s)Sanskrit: निग्राह्या रसवा शस्त्रावा Nigrahya Rasava shastrava
Engagements1962 Sino-Indian War, East Pakistan Operations 1971, Operation Meghdoot, Orissa Super-Cyclone Relief, 1999
Air Officer Commanding-in-ChiefAir Marshal Shyam Bihari Prasad Sinha

The Central Air Command is one of the five operational commands of the Indian Air Force. It is currently headquartered in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. It was formed on 19 March 1962, at Rani Kuthee, Calcutta.


Due to the possibility of war with China, No. 1 Operational Group was formed on 27 May 1958 at Ranikuthee in Calcutta, to look after all the units. In 1959, it was upgraded to Eastern Air Force (EAF). In 1962, after the Sino-Indian War, EAF was moved to Shillong and Central Air Command (CAC) was formed on 19 March 1962 with its headquarters at Rani Kuthee, Calcutta (now Kolkata). Calcutta was considered an inappropriate location for the Central Air Command Headquarters and it was relocated to Allahabad in February 1966.[1]

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, CAC English Electric Canberras carried out 163 bombing and 33 close air support sorties against Pakistani forces, and raided Pakistan Air Force airbases at Mauripur, Multan, Sargodha, Peshawar, and Chaklala. Squadron Leader Charanjit Singh and Flt Lt Mangat Singh made a 'brilliant raid' on the night of 13–14 September 1965, by carrying out a major air base attacks at Peshawar. Three Mahavir Chakras were awarded to the members of Canberra squadrons. In a major attack, seven Canberras of No. 35 Squadron attacked the oil storage tanks at Karachi, destroying about 60% of Pakistan's oil reserves.[2]

On 3 November 1988, during the 1988 Maldives coup d'état, Indian troops were airlifted to Maldives in two CAC Ilyushin Il-76s and landed at Hulule airport on a dark unlit runway. By 2.30am on 4 November the Indian forces completed their mission and safely brought back the President of Maldives.[2]

In operation "Safed Sagar" during the Kargil war in 1999, CAC played a prominent role by successfully carrying out attacks on enemy bases.[2]

The IAF's first exercise with a foreign air force (Garud) took place with the French Air Force in Gwalior in 2003 and CAC participated in an eight-day exercise. A number of joint exercises have been conducted with the United States Air Force, Royal Air Force, the Singapore Air Force and South African Air Force at Gwalior and Agra. [2]


Squadrons include:

Squadron Base Equipment Notes
No. 106 Squadron IAF Agra Air Force Station Avro 748M No. 4 Wing IAF
No. 8 Squadron IAF Bareilly Air Force Station Su-30MKI No. 15 Wing IAF
No. 24 Squadron IAF Bareilly Air Force Station Su-30MKI No. 15 Wing IAF
No. 111 Helicopter Unit, IAF Bareilly Air Force Station HAL Chetak No. 15 Wing IAF
No. 16 Squadron IAF Jamnagar Airforce Station SEPECAT Jaguar IS No. 17 Wing IAF
No. 27 Squadron IAF Gorakhpur Air Force Station SEPECAT Jaguar IS No. 17 Wing IAF
No. 105 Helicopter Unit, IAF Gorakhpur Air Force Station Mil 17 V No. 17 Wing IAF
No. 1 Squadron IAF Maharajpur Air Force Station Mirage-2000H No. 40 Wing IAF
No. 7 Squadron IAF Maharajpur Air Force Station Mirage-2000H No. 40 Wing IAF
TACDE Maharajpur Air Force Station Mig-21 No. 40 Wing IAF
TACDE Maharajpur Air Force Station Mig-27 No. 40 Wing IAF


The CAC mainly patrols the North Central part of India. It has airbases at Agra, Bareilly, Gorakhpur, Gwalior and Bamraulli and some units are located at Bihta, Darbhanga, Bakshi-ka-Talab, Nagpur, Nainital, Memaura and Varanasi.[2]

The CAC operates fixed-wing aircraft such as the Mirage 2000, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21, Antonov An-32, Ilyushin Il-76 and Dornier Do 228; and helicopters such as the Mil Mi-8, Mil Mi-17 and Mil Mi-26.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ AVM A K Tiwari. Reorganising the Air Force For Future Operations.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Central Air Command: A dominant power in the sky". Times of India.