Wing Commander Eslin Paul D'Couto (17863) F (P) was commissioned on 14 Jun 85 as a Fighter Pilot in the IAF. In 21 years of distinguished service he has held several important field and staff appointments that include Flying Instructor at Air force Academy, Flight Commander of a Fighter Squadron, and as Directing Staff at Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. For his professionalism in recovering a crippled trainer aircraft, he was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff on 26 Jan 96. He took over command of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Squadron on 03 May 04. On induction of special payloads he displayed exemplary professional vision in conceptualizing the employment philosophy of these special payloads. The proposed employment has been accepted by the IAF for the entire UAV fleet. By his dedication, involvement and professional approach during every On Site Functional Acceptance Test (OSFAT) he was instrumental in identifying flaws and suggesting improvements which have been accepted by the OEM, thus preempting a subsequent upgrade. Under his guidance various innovations on the Data Acquisition System (DAS) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery interpretation station were carried out, resulting in large saving in foreign exchange. He was instrumental in formulating very exhaustive briefing guides, SOPs and syllabi for use of special payloads on UAVs which have been accepted by Air HQ (VB) for entire UAV fleet.
Under his leadership the air warriors of the Squadron are highly motivated and constantly upgrade their knowledge through interaction with the OEM and TETTRA. The OP crew of the Squadron, through a mix of many branches, always work as a cohesive team, comparable to the best of fighter Squadrons of IAF. In the last two years, the Squadron has achieved many distinctions and was judged the BEST UAV SQUADRON in WAC for 2005. It is the only UAV Squadron to be inspected by DASI with Average plus overall grading. In the last two years the squadron has flown a total of 1423 hours, the highest by any UAV squadron, without a single accident/incident on UAVs or Half Scales. It has the maximum cross trained operators, with all Fully Operational External Pilots (EP) trained as Internal Pilots (IP) and three IPs as EPs. All Internal Pilots of the Squadron have been declared as Mission Commanders and are all trained as Special Payload Operators.
For his personal involvement, dedication and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Eslin Paul D'Couto.