No. 26 Squadron IAF
|No. 26 Squadron|
|Active||1 January 1968 - Present|
|Country||Republic of India|
|Branch||Indian Air Force|
|Motto(s)||Yudhyasva Vigatha Jwar|
Wage war with all efforts
The squadron was formed on 1 January 1968, at Adampur, under Wing Commander M.M. Singh. It was the first squadron to operate the Sukhoi Su-7 aircraft. Until 1971, the squadron was a type training squadron, which helped other squadrons convert to Su-7. It played a very active role in the war with Pakistan in December that year. Its primary role was to fly Close Air Support missions with 8 Tactical Air Command, and flew a few sorties with 6 TAC as well. Most operations were in an area termed as the Bulge, bounded by Samba in the north, Pathankot in the east, and Dera Baba Nanak in the south.
Operations in 1971
The war started with the PAF conducting pre-emptive strikes on various Indian airfields. At 0400 hours on the morning of 4 December, the Warriors' aircrew was briefed for its day's operations. It sent four aircraft, early in the morning, to strike Chander Airfield, and flew several other sorties. At dusk, four aircraft were sent to strike a suspected radar site at Walton Airfield.
On 5 December, after being briefed at 0430 hours, the squadron flew missions for 6 TAC in the Lahore sector. In one mission, Squadron Leader Sahin was damaged, forcing him to land at Pathankot. During the last strike of the day, Squadron Leader Jaffa was shot. He ejected from an inverted aircraft, but landed inside Pakistani territory and got captured. The next day the squadron flew several missions against dug-in and well-prepared Pakistani positions in the Bulge. On 7 December, at 1015 hours, Squadron Leader Jiwa Singh, the squadron's Senior Flight Commander, was shot down in Jafarwal, and lost contact with ground control. Later that day, it was reported that s Su-7, probably commanded by Singh had been shot down by an F-104 Starfighter and the pilot killed. The next day, after being briefed at 0630hours, the squadron flew several CAS missions for no losses. However, due to the previous mishaps, they were down to 13 pilots, and just 11 aircraft.
On 9 December, the squadron began flying missions with MiG 21s as escorts, since PAF activity in the Bulge had been stepped up. The squadron flew several missions against enemy positions in the Bulge, and Flight Lt. Kadam was reported missing after an attack on Rissalwala Airfield. The next day, the Warriors flew 10 CAS sorties in the bulge, and Flight Lt. Parulkar went missing after a strike over Zafarwal. On 11 December, 3 aircraft from the squadron flying over Nunkot, encountered 6 PAF Sabres. Two aircraft returned undamaged, but Flight Lt. K.K.Mohan was reported missing. The next day the squadron flew 12 CAS sorties for no mishaps, though the Pakistanis occasionally jammed the communications. As the war drew to close, the Warriors flew fewer sorties than before, only 8 sorties took place on 13 December.
On 14 December, the fight in Sakargarh began heating up, and the squadron flew 14 sorties. Their Flight Air Controller, Flight Lt. Pereira was seriously injured by strafing runs, and died due to these injuries. On 15 December, the Warriors acquired S-24 rockets, and attacked Sulaimanke Head works with these. The next day, after the Pakistani forces in Dhaka had surrendered, the squadron flew a mission against Normal Railway yard flying into heavy Anti-aircraft fire. Flight Lt. Dandass was shot down and his aircraft exploded on the ground. in the evening, the Prime Minister ordered a unilateral ceasefire on the Western Front. The next day, only 12 sorties were flown. A cessations of all air strikes was ordered at 1600 hours that evening.
The Squadron got several trophies for being the best in Western Air Command. They took part in the 50 squadron fly past in 1982, commemorating the IAF Golden Jubilee. At some point after the war, the squadron was re-equipped with MiG 21BIS aircraft.
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee awarded Standards to 115 Helicopter Unit and 26 Squadron of Indian Air Force at Tezpur, Assam today (21 November 2014). Speaking on the occasion, the President said that it gave him immense pleasure to be there at Air Force Station Tezpur, one of the premier Air Bases of the Indian Air Force in the Eastern Sector, to award Standards to 115 Helicopter Unit and 26 Squadron. These distinguished flying Units have a glorious past and a rich tradition of professional excellence. Since their inception, they have rendered illustrious service to the Nation and done us proud. He stated that their rich heritage and stellar efforts in the pursuit of excellence have set a benchmark for others to emulate. For their selfless devotion, professionalism and courage in the face of adversity, the Nation honours them today with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation. The President said that to preserve peace and harmony and promote all round development, it is imperative for us to have an effective deterrence and a strong defence. Though as a Nation we are firmly committed to peace, we must be prepared to use our might to safeguard the sovereignty of our Nation, should the need ever arise.
- "Squadrons and Helicopter Units". Indian Air Force Units. [Bharat Rakshak]. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "Indian Air Force Stations". Indian Air Force. [Global Security]. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "No 26 Squadron(Warriors)". Indian Air Force Units. [Official Website of the Indian Air Force]. Retrieved 31 July 2012.