Awards for ASTE


A total of 14 Awards are listed.
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Kirti Chakra
Sqn Ldr Deepak Yadav 8991 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date 28 Sep 76 Announced 26 Jan 78
Details :

Squadron Leader Deepak Yadav was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in 1964. He served as in Squadron pilot in an operational fighter squadron for six years. During the Indo-Pak Conflict, 1971, he flew 20 operational missions deep into enemy territory with unflagging zeal and complete disregard for personal safety. For this he was mentioned in Despatches. An excellent fighter Squadron Pilot during his entire service period, he later volunteered for flight testing and made a significant contribution to test flying and the development of indigenous aircraft and systems.

On the 28th September, 1976, he was flight testing an aircraft to examine a specific problem area which he himself had identified on two previous flights. During the course of this flight-test, the aircraft experienced a structural failure resulting in complete loss of control. Squadron leader Deepak Yadav sacrificed his life in his cause of test flying.

Squadron Leader Deepak Yadav thus displayed conspicuous courage, determination and devotion the duty of a high order.


On 28 Sep 76, Sqn Ldr Deepak Yadav along with Flt Lt Ramesh Chandra Ghidiyal, were testflying a Kiran trainer to examine a specific problem area which he himself had discovered. During the course of the Airtest, the aircraft suffered structural failure and crashed killing both the pilots. Sqn Ldr Deepak Yadav, who had earlier in the 71 War had flown over 20 sorties, lost his life to the cause of testflying.
Reference: Gazette of India , 8th April 1978 - No.13 - Pres/78 dated 26th January 1978 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Sqn Ldr Arun Keshav Sapre 4981 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date 26 Jan 73 Announced 26 Jan 73
Details :
Citation Not Available
Reference:  

Shaurya Chakra
Flt Lt Ramesh Chandra Ghidiyal 9031 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date 28 Sep 76 Announced 26 Jan 78
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Ramesh Chandra Ghildiyal was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in 1964 and served as the Squadron Pilot. As a Flight Commander in an operational helicopter unit where he flew over 1650 hours while carrying out casualty evacuations, relief operations, and logistics support missions and flight of dignitary over hazardous terrain with great efficiency. He volunteered for the Flight Inspectors course in 1971-72 and on the basis of his performance and aptitude, he was selected for the Experimental Test Pilot's Course in France in 1974 which he completed with a high merit. He was posted to Air craft and Systems Testing Establishment in 1975. He took great interest in development and testing of fixed wing aircraft and regularly assisted in their flight testing. On 28th September, 1976 while assisting Sqn. Ldr Deepak Yadav in the conduct of a flight trial, the aircraft suffered structural failure leading to complete loss of control. Flight Lieutenant Ramesh Chandra Ghildiyal was killed in the ensuing crash thereby sacrificing his life in the cause of test flying.

Flight Lieutenant Ramesh Chandra Ghildiyal has thus displayed courage, determination and devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India , 8th April 1978 - No.14 - Pres/78 dated 26th January 1978 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Parvez Khokar 11860 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 82
Details :

Squadron Leader Pravez Khokar underwent No. 2 Experimental Test Pilots Course at Aircraft and System Testing Establishment in 1997-78. From October, 1978 to January, 1981, he was employed on active testing duties in the Flight Test Squadron at Aircraft System Testing Establishment. Being an A-2 category qualified flying instructor with considerable experience he was detailed as the project Pilot for HPT32 Piston engine basic trainer aircraft under development at HAL (Bangalore Complex). He took extremely active part in prototype Testing of this aircraft including high risk tests such as stalling, spinning, engine air starts with the propeller stopped and aerobatics. He used his experience to great advantage to offer very constructive suggestions and remedial measures to the designers at HAL. He also worked extremely hard with rare dedication to monitor the progress on the two prototype aircraft under testing. This often entailed working well beyond the normal working hours and flying at all hours of the day. In addition to the onerous responsibility of being the project pilot on HPT-32 aircraft, he carried out a number of service trials on Marut, Ajeet, Iskra and MiG aircraft. He was always eager to undertake new testing assignments without any regard to personal comfort or safety. He has accumulated 2277 hours of accident-free flying on 18 different types of aircraft and holds the highest instrument rating of Master Green.

Squadron Leader Pravez Khokar has thus displayed professional competence, leadership capabilities and devotion to duty of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 22nd January 1983 - No.1-Pres/83 dated 26th January 1982 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr 8377 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 83
Details :

Wing Commander Subhash Chandra Mittal has been on the posted strength of Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment as Officer Commanding Flight Test Squadron since October 1980. He is a qualified Experimental Test Pilot, having graduated from the French Test Pilots' School in 1973-74. His present posting to ASTE is his second tenure with this unit, his first one having lasted from Jul 74 to Dec 77. Wing Commander Mittal is not only a very experienced test pilot of high caliber, competent to test most fixed wing aircraft of the Air Force, but also an operational pilot of considerable experience and merit with over 3000 hours of flying to his credit. He was amongst the first batch of pilots selected to undergo training on Jaguar aircraft in the UK and later served with credit as Flight Commander in the first Jaguar Squadron of the Indian Air Force. Besides maintaining an accident­free record, he achieved the highest instrument rating of Master Green and has been a Command Examiner on Supersonic Fighter aircraft.

His efficient handling of a special Missile project and the results of the tests carried out at ASTE have drawn very favorable comments from all agencies associated with this Project.

For his exceptional individual flying skill, unflinching devotion to duty and consistently outstanding performance as a test pilot, the President is pleased to award VAYU SEVA MEDAL to Wing Commander Subhash Chandra Mittal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 2nd February 1985 - No.5-Pres/85 dated 26th January 1983 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Neeraj Sharma 11861 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 84
Details :

Squadron Leader Neeraj Sharma underwent No. 3 Experimental Test Pilots' Course at ASTE, AF and graduated with flying colours. Prior to attending this course he served in Gnat and MiG Squadrons. He has also undergone the Advanced Air Armament Staff course at IAT, Pune. Inspite of his being a Pilot with a non technical academic background, he performed creditably on this course.

After graduation as an Experimental Test Pilot he was employed on active testing duties in the Flight Test Squadron at ASTE. He carried out a number of evaluation trials on fighter and transport aircraft. In his present tenure he has flown over 800 hours on numerous flight trials on different types of aircraft displaying a very high degree of professional competence and exceptional flight safety awareness.

In Sep 81, he was inducted into the staff of Test Pilots' School as the Senior Test Flying Instructor. His selection for this responsible position was based on his performance during the Test Pilots course as well as the work carried out by him as a Test Pilot.

In the school, he proved his mettle by imparting instructions of a very high quality to the students. The officer's attitude to work has been one of sustained enthusiasm and diligence despite being the only Test Flying Instructor available for long periods. Despite heavy work load, he ensured that the flying training was completed on schedule.

For his dedicated hard work, consistent performance of a very high calibre both in the air and on the ground, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Squadron Leader Neeraj Sharma.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 2nd February 1985 - No.5-Pres/85 dated 26th January 1983 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Rajib Kumar Chakravorty 12503 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Squadron Leader Rajib Kumar Chakravorty has been on the posted strength of Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment with effect from 09 Jan 82.

From Dec 82 to Feb 84, he was involved in the successful and safe completion of numerous high priority trials allotted to the Flight Test Squadron of this establishment. He was on the Shamsher Darin project while, simultaneously, he was responsible for the singlehanded completion of five separate trials on Vajra aircraft. The latter had to be carried out from the home base. Their timely completion involved long hours of work on the tarmac in severe climatic conditions. During a reject take-off trial on Vijay aircraft, the brake parachute sheared off when deployed at limit speed. However, Sqn Ldr Chakravorty reacted in a cool and professional manner and averted what otherwise could have been a major accident. He also participated in trials on Vikram and Badal aircraft. By his application and industry, he set an example for younger test pilots to emulate. During his tenure with the FTS; Sqn Ldr Chakravorty displayed professionalism of a very high standard.

He was inducted into the Test Pilots School as the Senior Test Flying Instructor in Jan 85. During 1985-86, he was instrumental in the planning and completion of No. 8 Test Pilots' Course and the first half of No. 9 ETPC in spite of an acute shortage of test flying instructors. During this period, he discharged his duties as the Senior Test Flying Instructor and, for three months, as Officer Commanding, TPS, displaying instructional ability and flying skills of an exceptional order.

For his exceptional multifaceted professionalism, extreme devotion to duty and constant dedication to the task for test flying and training of test pilots, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Sqn Ldr Rajib Kumar Chakravorty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Ajit Keshav Agtey 12188 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Wing Commander Ajit Keshav Agtey was on the posted strength of Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment as a test pilot from Dec 82 to Nov 85 and was again posted as a Senior Test Flying Instructor in the Test Pilot School (TPS) with effect from 27 Oct 86.

During the initial three years he made valuable and vital contribution towards the development and safe clearance of aircraft avionics and weapon systems to meet Air Force requirements and also those of various Research & Development establishments. In particular, Wing Commander Agtey was the Project Pilot for a key development programme that aimed at a significant improvement in the operational potential of our frontline combat aircraft. Wing Commander Agtey's personal contribution has been extremely significant in achieving the target at minimum cost and time. He has flown over 50% of all development sorties in this programme and has been the main source of vital pilot inputs so necessary to tune the system to meet operational requirements.

Wing Commander Agtey was again posted to ASTE on promotion in Oct 86 as a Senior Test Flying instructor in the Test Pilots School. He carried out his duties in the above appointment with total dedication.

Besides due to his earlier involvement in development flight trials on the Jaguar, he was once again involved in various trials for the Flight Test Squadron which he performed with the same commitment as he had done during his earlier tenure.

For his exceptional professional knowledge and total commitment to task entrusted to him, perseverance, diligence and outstanding devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander AK Agtey.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 2nd April 1988 - No.24-Pres/88 dated 26th January 1988 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Motilal Nalluri 13911 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Group Captain Motilal Nalluri (13911) Flying (Pilot) has been functioning as the Chief Test Pilot (CTP) of Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), Air Force since Jun 99. He earlier served in ASTE from Dec 85 to May 88, where he was actively involved in indigenous weapon integration trials on the MiG-21 and MiG-23 BN as also on AEW TOP aircraft for baseline flight and thrust derivatives.

As CTP he has supervised and monitored as many as 52 flight trials, of which 44 were completed in 1999. This was a quantum leap from 17-flight trials completed in the previous year. Most of these trials were of a very complex nature involving large-scale integration of state-of-the art equipment, systems and weapons on contemporary aircraft, in order to substantially enhance the strike and avionics capability of the IAF. He personally conducted a number of high-risk flight trials himself. In addition to the trials, the officer has been deeply involved with a number of ongoing projects to upgrade aircraft in service. He has also provided useful inputs for the LCA and ALH programmes.

The officer's contribution in enhancing the punch and reliability of aircraft and system in the IAF is noteworthy, as is his undivided dedication and devotion to duty.

For his devotion to duty and yeoman contribution to Flight Testing, the Hon'ble President, is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Motilal Nalluri.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Subhash Palakuzhiyil John 20155 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date 09 Apr 01 Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Squadron Leader Subhash Palakuzhiyll John (20155) F (P) is on the posted strength of ASTE, Air Force since 20 May 2000 as Rotary Wing Test Pilot. In Apr 01, he was detailed to undertake flight trial of a special type of warhead over Pokharan Range. The warhead, along with its rocket motor and associated electronics, was housed in a Warhead Test Vehicle (WTV), which In turn was mounted on a 500 kg carriage plate attached to the helicopter with cables. The trials involved vertical lift of the WTV, under-slung from a Mi-17 helicopter, from a special pit. Thereafter, the WTV was to be carried and dropped from a height of four km over the designation target, for the assessment of its functioning. On 09 Apr 01, while carrying the WTV target area, its rocket motor fired prematurely, when It was still attached to the carriage plate. This resulted In the shearing-off of the retaining bolts of the carriage plate. The recoil due to the rocket motor exhaust gases made the carriage plate whip-up, into the under surface of the helicopter, resulting In the helicopter going into an uncontrolled flight, with damage to the helicopter's under surface. Sqn Ldr John valiantly faced the emergency and brought the helicopter under control. He also calmed the crewmembers and onboard observers. He, thereafter, directed the chase helicopter to locate the point of impact of the live warhead. He went on to direct the ground controllers and bomb disposal team to the point of impact so that damage on ground could be minimised and the live bomblets disposed of. He did all this, while (lawlessly carrying out his immediate task of keeping his damaged helicopter under control, and recovering it to the nearest helipad. For this act of exceptional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Subhash Palakuzhiyil John.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Subramanya Sukumar 14672 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details : Group Captain Subramanya Sukumar (14672) F (P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 29 Dec 1976 and is presently held on the posted strength of Aircraft and System Testing Establishment, Bangalore Air Force since 01 Jun 2000. He is an Experimental Test Pilot and a QFI with over 3800 hours on 25 different types of aircraft including all the fighter aircrafts in the IAF. He functioned as the Chief Project Manager till 04 Nov 2000 and since the, he ahs been the Chief Test Pilot.

As the Chief Flying Instructor at Bidar from Jun 1977 to May 2000, he flew 990 h. For his untiring efforts and ensuring high quality of training achieved in a time bound manner, he was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff.

He was the Flying Display Director during Aero India 2001. His deep involvement in the meticulous planning and skilful coordination of over twenty types of aircraft from all over the world resulted in flying display of international standard. The quality and clockwork precision with which the flying display was conducted were highly appreciated by all the dignitaries who visited the Air Show, including the Chief of the Air Staff, AOC-in-C Training Command and the foreign participants.

During 2001, ASTE conducted a record number of 48 trials, highest in its history. This included some of the most complex trials conducted at ASTE till date. This was made possible by his hands-on style of management and leadership by personal example. He personally led most of the complex trials such as the ASPJ and CMD trials on different fighter aircraft and ensured very high quality of professionalism and supervision. He inspired and motivated his subordinates to very high levels of commitment and performance. He worked tirelessly, well beyond the commitments of ASTE were conducted in a safe, efficient and timely manner, while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism. ASTE maintained an accident free record during this period.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is please to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Subramanya Sukumar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 22nd March 2003 - No.43-Pres/2003 dated 26th January 2003 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal 20459 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date 29 May 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal (20459) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Aircraft System and Training Establishment (ASTE) since 29 June 1998 as Test Pilot & Chief of Trial Team SARAS.

In Jan 02, ASTE was formally tasked to undertake flight testing of the Saras Light Transport Aircraft (LTA~ pro~ being indigenously designed and developed by National Aeronautics Laboratory (NAL). Sqn Ldr Venugopal, then a test flying instructor at AFTPS was specifically chosen to head the Saras test team on account of his flight test experience a project pilot for evaluating Executive Jets for the Air Force. This was an extremely challenging task as the Saras had a unique rear mounted pusher prop configuration and was the first indigenous LTA programme. With his maturity and personal involvement he was instrumental in finalisation of all the necessary documentation and coï·“ordination with Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) as the team leader. He was directly responsible for finalisation of cockpit man machine interface and safety audit of the aircraft and its systems. He was also instrumental in planning, review, approval and execution of the entire test programme. He oversaw the continuity training and preparation of the other crew members of the team for the demanding task of undertaking the first flight and further evaluation of Saras ac. His dedication and hard work were commended and lauded by all the senior functionaries of NAL and MCA.

On 29 May 04, the first Saras Prototype took off on its first flight. First flight of a prototype aircraft is always a high risk proposition. The lack of an engineering test simulator, made the execution of first flight even more challenging. Soon after take off, the crew experienced Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) and angle of attack indication failure, thereby losing vital flight information. Coupled to this, the aircraft experienced mild vibrations due to opening of the refuelling panel in flight. As the Captain of aircraft Sqn Ldr Venugopal maintained his cool and rose to the challenge of having to deal with a serious emergency on a prototype aircraft on its first flight. He exhibited exceptional professionalism and courage in handling the emergency and recovering the aircraft safely.

For displaying professionalism and courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr S Hari Krishnan Nair 17338 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander S Hari Krishnan Nair (17338) flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 22 Dec 1983. He is the Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Unit since 16 Jun 2003. Immediately after he took over, the unit was reï·“tasked to create a formation display team [Sarangs] with a view to perform before international audience at Singapore during Asian Aerospace 04. To accomplish this task five additional pilots were posted in to fill in the cockpit vacancies. Considering the short time available, it was a major task to convert these pilots and train them to perform a world class formation display. In addition, the degree of difficulty of the assigned task was not known since Indian Air Force was attempting such a venture for the first time and there are very few helicopter display teams in the world. Notwithstanding these limitations, he undertook the challenge in his stride. Wg Cdr Nair carried out immaculate planning regarding the airlift of five helicopters from Bangalore to Singapore and back. He accompanied the helicopters with a small team of technicians to ensure complete safety during the move. At Singapore the aircraft were built up in a record two days time, ready for the air show. The air show was at a foreign base, over sea and restricted airspace. In addition, stringent aviation regulations were imposed by the host country as per their procedure. He modeled the air display to suit all the conditions and ensured perfect display, which drew appreciation from A foreign dignitaries, international media and the general public. The entire exercise went through without even an incident. The performance was applauded by the press and other participants. As a special gesture, the US MoD sent a note of appreciation to Air HQ on the team's performance. Appreciation of other foreign military heads was also conveyed personally to the Chief of the Air Staff during his visit on the inaugural day of the Air Show. For his exceptional devotion to duty, initiative and performance, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander S Hari Krishnan Nair.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Ravinder Kumar Dhir 15678 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Group Captain Ravinder Kumar Dhir (15678) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of Air Force Test Pilots School (AFTPS) since 01 Jul 2003. Earlier he was a member of Bis Upgrade Team at Russia and inducted BISON aircraft in the 1AF as Commanding Officer of that Squadron. He is on the posted strength of Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) since 09 Dec 2002 and was the Chief Projects Manager (CPM) till Jun 2003. He was actively involved with ADA, HAL, CABS and NAL towards TEJAS, UT and SARAS projects. He was member of First Flight Review Board of UT and MMR on HACK-AVRO. He was instrumental in framing the MoU between Air Force and NAL, for first ever prototype flight testing of SARAS aircraft by ASTE and certification by DGCA. Air HQ in Jun 2003 increased the intake for the Flight Test Course (FTC). Notwithstanding the limitations of manpower and aircraft resources, he undertook the challenge in his stride. He personally supervised the exercises by flying instructional sorties, and coordinated outstation activities with Air HQ, to ensure timely completion of 26 FTC. The next FTC, also with increased strength, is progressing on schedule. With emphasis on team work he motivated his staff by personal example to meet the 1AF requirements of training more tesl crew. AFTPS was tasked to achieve recognition of FTC for grant of M Tech Degree to students by Visvesvaniya Technological University Belgaum, Karnataka. With his perseverance and diligence Gp Capt Dhir achieved the same and a comprehensive plan to initiate the postgraduate course for 28 FTC commencing Jul 05 has been formulated. To mark the Silver Jubilee of the AFTPS a first ever International Seminar on Flight Testing and Flight Test Training was held at ASTE Six foreign test pilot schools from USA, UK, France and Brazil participated. Gp Capt Dhir demonstrated exceptional management skills by planning each activity meticulously, and conducted the seminar in the most befitting manner. Capitalizing on the lessons learnt, he formulated comprehensive training package for students involving special Systems' Evaluation capsule at USNTI'S, and Preview Exchange with three foreign schools, at no cost basis, which was approved at Air HQ. A promotional film on AFTPS was also made during this period. Formal request by four countries to train their officers at AFTPS reflects the international recognition achieved by AFTPS. For his exceptional devotion to duty, Initiative and performance, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Ravinder Kumar Dhir.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

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