No.116 Helicopter Unit Tankbusters

Motto : Apatsu Mitram (A friend in time of need)
Date Raised : 1967-07-27 Location : Jodhpur
116 Helicopter Unit was raised on 01 Aug 67 with Mi 4 helicopters at Sarsawa with Sqn Ldr KK Deb. The unit was named “Whirly Wizards’ for its almost magical ability to ‘Hover & Deliver’. In Dec 1973, the unit was re-equipped with Chetak helicopters and was renamed as ‘Skylarks’. Subsequently, as the first helicopter unit of IAF to be equipped with AS 11 B1 Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM), it assumed the name of Tankbusters.

In its early years, the unit was a regular favourite for the Republic Day parade fly-past at New Delhi. With introduction of Anti tank role, the unit was brought under the operational command and control of the Army in Nov 86 and was affiliated to HQ 12 Corps. In 1988, the unit has deployed armed helicopters in Sri Lanka as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) contingent during ‘Op Pawan’. The detachment carried out operations in support of the IPKF, flying varied roles like strike, casualty evacuation, supply dropping, logistic support and armed recce. Post Op Pawan, armed with battle experience, the unit started to actively participate in Joint exercises with the Army, major ones being ‘Op Brass Tacks’ in 1986 and ‘Op Rakshak’ in 1999 and Op Trident biannually.

In the following years, the unit continued to train in roles like Airborne Forward Air Control. In the recent past, unit pilots participated in the biggest rescue operation in the history of independent India, “Operation Rahat”, to save thousands of stranded pilgrims from the weather ravaged holy shrine of Kedarnath and nearby areas. Over the years, Tankbusters have received one Shaurya Chakra, two Vayu Sena medals, one mention-in-Dispatches and numerous commendations for their exemplary performance in various missions. The unit reached yet another milestone with the induction of “Dhruv” (ALH Mk I) helicopters in 2013. Subsequently, the unit became the first in IAF to be equipped with the weaponised variant - the ALH Mk IV named “Rudra”. The warcry of the unit is “Avinashi Anant Vijayam” meaning “Indestructible Shall Ever Be Victorious”

Commanding Officers

View in Grid

DatesRank & NameNumberRemarksLocationPhoto
27 Jul 67 to 09 Aug 70Squadron Leader Kshitindra Kumar Deb4913 GD(P)COSarsawa
10 Aug 70 to 01 Apr 73Squadron Leader Brij Mohan Datta5319 F(P)COSarsawa
02 Apr 73 to 31 Jan 74Squadron Leader Avinash Chander Chopra7604 F(P)CO
01 Feb 74 to 31 Jul 77Squadron Leader Bharat Bhushan Koshal7023 F(P)CO
01 Aug 77 to 28 Oct 79Squadron Leader Arun Devap Nayak8946 F(P)CO
29 Oct 79 to 23 Dec 79Squadron Leader Ranbir Singh Chauhan8136 F(P)CO
24 Dec 79 to 10 May 81Wing Commander Ranbir Singh Chauhan8136 F(P)CO
11 May 81 to 25 Apr 83Wing Commander Sivaramakrishnan Kalyanaraman7704 F(P)CO
26 Apr 83 to 14 Jul 85Wing Commander Deepak Kumar Sonpar8415 F(P)CO
15 Jul 85 to 22 Jun 87Wing Commander Praveen Chander Chopra10883 F(P)COJodhpur
23 Jun 87 to 19 Jun 89Wing Commander Bhadar Jit Singh Jaswal11637 F(P)COJodhpur
19 Jun 89 to 31 Dec 91Wing Commander Basudev Banerjee11654 F(P)COJodhpur
01 Jan 92 to 17 Sep 95Wing Commander Rohit Rai13160 F(P)COJodhpur
18 Sep 95 to 21 Feb 98Wing Commander Sandeep Atwal15411 F(P)COJodhpur
03 May 98 to 29 Apr 00Wing Commander Pankaj Jaiswal16232 F(P)COJodhpur
30 Apr 00 to 04 Aug 02Wing Commander Alok Kumar16988 F(P)COJodhpur
05 Aug 02 to 20 Jun 04Wing Commander Sunil Kumar Bhatia17360 F(P)COJodhpur
21 Jun 04 to 25 Feb 06Wing Commander Ajay Shukla18793 F(P)COJodhpur
08 May 06 to 06 Apr 08Wing Commander Shailender Sood19181 F(P)COJodhpur

Note: All the data available here is publicly available in the Gazette of India, published by the Indian Government, or from public domain sources, press releases about Awards and Right-To-Information (RTI) Requests. Additionally data shared by veterans is added to the page with permission. No data with respect to serving officers below the rank of AVM is displayed. Information in Gazette of India and Award citations and photographs as released by the Indian Air Force are the only details displayed.