Chief of Air Staff RKS Bhadauria recently flew the Rafale fighter in France

Refers to rise in ‘sub-conventional threats’ at the graduation parade of Air Force Academy

The scenario of warfare is changing from long-drawn wars with adequate preparatory time to sudden developments leading to a surge in operations, and the Indian Air Force will continue to play a critical role in the security domain, said Chief of the Air Staff, Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, on Saturday.

Air Marshal Bhadauria, who presided over the Combined Graduation Parade held at Air Force Academy in Dundigal, around 45 km from Hyderabad, said the present decade is likely to witness even more dramatic changes in warfare “as the sub-conventional threat has increased”.

“Indian Air Force will continue to play a crucial role in the security domain and you will be part of the core set of people who will be called upon to deliver in maintaining peace and security in the country,” he told the newly-commissioned flying officers.

He expressed confidence that the Air Force is prepared to fight the enemy across the entire spectrum of warfare and is the primary custodian of air defence of the country. Since inception, the IAF has always undertaken challenging roles, the IAF chief said.

Stating that the flying officers are the future leadership of IAF, Air Marshal Bhadauria asked them to be professionally competent and always work to uphold the culture of the institution, which emanates from the vision statement ‘People First Mission Always’. Further, he assured parents of the flying officers to provide the best training and equipment as their beloved take the pledge to safeguard the unity and integrity of the nation.

He formally inducted 127 flight cadets, including 23 women, into the mainstream by presenting ‘Wings and Brevets’ to cadets of the flying branch, Indian Navy and Coast Guard during the ‘Pipping Ceremony’, the high point of the parade. After that, he gave away various awards to the flying officers who had excelled in various training.

The Toppers

Flying Officer Arunabha Chakraborty from the flying branch was awarded ‘Sword of Honour’ and President’s Plaque for standing first in overall merit in pilots’ course. Flying Officer Aayush Pandey and Flying Officer Purnendu Kumar Singh were awarded President’s Plaque for coming first in overall merit in navigation and ground duty branches, respectively.

The magnificent occasion was witnessed by the family members and friends of passing-out cadets, as well as senior serving and retired officers from three services.

Earlier in the day, the spectators were awestruck by the movements of the Air Warrior Drill team and breathtaking aerobatic display by ‘Sarang’, the helicopter aerobatic team of IAF; ‘Suryakiran’, the Hawk Aerobatic display team; and PC 7 aircraft.

The skydiving team of Indian Air Force ‘Akash Ganga’ enthralled them by painting the blue skies with the tricolour and carrying out a perfect landing right in front of them.

The grand ceremony culminated with the newly commissioned officers marching out in two columns to the traditional notes of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, the poignant farewell tune played by Armed Forces of the world when bidding adieu to colleagues and comrades, acknowledging the first salute given to them by their immediate juniors.