Group Captain Dattatray Keshao Pande (15081) Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics) was commissioned in the Aeronautical Engineering Branch of the IAF on 25 Jul 1977. During 26 years of distinguished career, he has held important appointments at operational Stations, Base Repair Depot (BRD), Technical College and Air Headquarters. Presently, he is Director Engineering at Air HQs since 08 May 2001. As Senior Engineer (Aircraft) at Air Force Station Pune during 1997 to 2001, he planned and set up infrastructure for Su-30 fleet, achieved self-sufficiency in maintenance operations in shortest time and minimised dependence on Russians. He ensured very high availability of aircraft and engines by conducting on site repairs and resolving design related issues. The on-site repair of engines has resulted in saving of approximately $ 7.8m. His pioneering work in indigenisation of Flight Data Recorder (FDR) decoding equipment has resulted not only in substantial saving in foreign exchange but also made the additional FDR decoding equipment available to the operators. This has helped a great deal in achieving high standards of operational and maintenance safety.
As Deputy Director Engineering in MiG27 aircraft cell, through foresight, proactive provisioning and optimum management of resources, he ensured very high serviceability and availability of MiG-27 fleet during 'Op Parakram'. As Director Engineering, he is involved in all maintenance and logistics activities of newly inducted Su-30Mk-I aircraft. With his focused approach on key result areas, he has set in place an effective maintenance Support system. He participated in many price negotiation meetings with foreign vendors, leading to considerable reduction in price and speedy conclusion of contracts. Under his guidance, indigenisation programme of Su-30Mk-I spares is progressing on fast track. His constant interaction with HAL and MoD officials has resulted in satisfactory progress of repair and overhaul programmes of Su-30-Mk-I aircraft.
He has always led from the front as a true leader with unquestionable loyalty and integrity. His selfless devotion to service and ever-willingness to take on challenging tasks has always been exemplary and worth emulating.
For his distinguished service of high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vishisht Seva Medal to Group Captain Dattatray Keshao Pande.