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TECHNICAL TRAINING COLLEGE
Air Cmde RHD Singh's Collection
|From the Indian Air Forces earliest years, it was clear that an
important element in building it would be the establishment of a training centre for
technicians and technical officers.
The first such establishment in India (and indeed in South and South-East Asia) was set up in Jalahalli West, just outside Bangalore, in 1949. It was then known as the Technical Training Centre (TTC); sometimes also referred to (possibly erroneously) as the Technical Training College.
When the TTC was first established the staff were mostly British. The first Commandant was Group Captain J Beaumont, an acknowledged disciplinarian. The Deputy Commandant was Gp Capt Thripp, and the Commanding Officer was Wg Cdr R Sen, representing the IAF and responsible for non-technical matters such as administration and discipline.
Much of the training in those initial years was actually delivered by an organisation called Airwork Services Training Corp (AST). This organisation, which had absorbed a number of British service personnel as the RAF shrank after World War 2, had been contracted to train Indian technical officers and airmen in technical trades, while Indian capabilities were being built. AST initially employed about fifty British personnel, many of them former RAF officers and NCOs, as instructors at TTC. Over a period of about five years, IAF instructors, administrative personnel and commanders were gradually phased in, assuming increasing responsibilities as British personnel phased out.
The IAF had begun its post-Independence expansion and needed trained engineering graduates, so in the early years engineering degree holders were offered two years ante-dating of seniority, to join one of the Technical branches: Tech/Engines, Tech/Armaments, Tech/Electrical and Tech/Signals. Such engineering graduates went through the TTC to undergo additional theoretical and practical training oriented towards Air Force equipment and procedures. Some military subjects were also taught.
|The first Tech/Engines and Tech/Electrical
courses passed out in 1949. No 1 Tech/Signals course passed out in 1950. By 1957 the TTC
had an Indian Commandant, Group Captain MJ Kripalani, and an entirely Indian faculty.
The TTCs modern successor, still in Jalahalli, is the Air Force Technical College. It still discharges the same function, training the IAFs technicians, from entry level to senior technical management programmes. Some things have changed; the IAFs Technical branches have been integrated, and re-named the Aeronautical Engineering (AE) branch. But much remains the same; the AFTC is still an indispensable component of the enormous infrastructure required to keep the IAF flying. And the IAF still offers ante-dating of seniority to engineering graduates though now only of one year! (And the AST still exists, now in Scotland, as a civil aviation oriented engineering college.)
Photos Courtesy: Deepak Singh, Text by K Sree Kumar
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