Awardee List for the NFTC

A total of 2 Awards are listed.
Kirti Chakra : 1 | Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) : 1 |
Kirti Chakra
Wg Cdr Rajiv Kothiyal 15696 F(P)Unit : National Flight Test Center, ADA  Award Date 04 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Rajiv Kothiyal (15696) F(P) was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot in the Indian Air Force on 15th June, 1979. After successful stints in various fighter squadrons, he served as a Flight Commander in a front-line-air-superiority MiG29 squadron. On completion of his tenure, he was selected to undergo the Experimental Test Pilot Course at the United States Air Force Test Pilot School. He graduated successfully from his prestigious institution in May 1990. In February, 1995, Wg Cdr Kothiyal was selected for the challenging assignment of being the Test Pilot for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project. Since then he has been actively involved in every facet of the design and development of the LCA, providing the most important pilot-interface to the LCA project. The successful development of control law for the Digital Fly-by-wire Control system, the Cockpit architecture and the pilot’s check lists and emergency procedures are attributed to Wg Cdr Kothiyal’s professional diligence and application of mind. Having successfully participated in the development activities, Wg Cdr Kothiyal was entrusted with undertaking the maiden flight of the first prototype of the LCA on 04-01-2001. This was the first occasion when an aircraft fully developed in India was to fly with a Fly-by-wire system. This complex system is packed with computerised flying controls, which enable an unstable aircraft to be flown with a very high degree of agility. Wg Cdr Kothiyal meticulously planned the test flight and ensured that every contingency was catered for. Wg Cdr Kothiyal flew the maiden test flight in the most exemplary manner.

Wing Commander Rajiv Kothiyal in this pioneering act displayed exceptional professionalism, courage and bravery that were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Notification No. 56-Pres/2001 dated 26th January, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th May, 2001. 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Tarun Banerjee 16776 F(P)Unit : National Flight Test Center, ADA  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

Wing Commander Tarun Banerjee (16776) F (P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 04 Jun 1982 and presently on deputation to NFTC, ADA since 23 June 1999 as a Test Pilot.

On 06 Jun 2002, he successfully undertook the first flight of the Light Combat Aircraft Technology Demonstrator-2 (LCA TD-2). In a prototype programme, the first flight of the subsequent prototypes is normally done by a Test Pilot who has already flown the previous prototype. However, due to the programme compulsions, the first flight of LCA TD-2 had to be undertaken by Wg Cdr Banerjee, without the experience of flying LCA TD-1.

The LCA TD-2 incorporated several new features, the most notable being the unproven ingeniously developed Head Up Display (HUD). He willingly accepted this programme decision and meticulously planned and executed various prepatory tests on the test rings and the prototype aircraft, facilitating identification and satisfactory resolution of a number of inadequacies. During the prepatory ground runs and taxi tests, the prototype type was repeatedly dogged by profuse hydraulic, lubricating oil and fuel leaks.

Wg Cdr Banerjee did not allow himself to be distracted by these high risk failures. In an unperturbed and most professional manner, he continued to conduct various tests and provided very useful inputs to resolve numerous design inadequacies. Braving all technological risks, he carried out the first flight in flawless manner and all the test objectives were achieved successfully. Thus, by putting his life at risk, well beyond the call of peace time duties, Wg Cdr Banerjee helped in achieving another major milestone in the LCA programme.

For exhibiting exemplary professionalism and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' to Wing Commander Tarun Banerjee.

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

The Awards Database presented here was made possible by the kind generosity of Air Marshal Bharat Kumar, author of Courage & Devotion to Duty : A Chronicle of IAF's Honours and Awards (1932-2008). Air Marshal Bharat Kumar had very graciously given permission to reproduce the citations from the book on this website.
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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.