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 âWhirly Wizardsâ for its almost magical ability to âHover & Deliverâ. In Dec 1973, the unit was re-equipped with Chetak helicopters and was renamed as âSkylarksâ. 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 âOp Pawanâ. 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 âOp Brass Tacksâ in 1986 and âOp Rakshakâ 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, âOperation Rahatâ, 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 âDhruvâ (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 âRudraâ. The warcry of the unit is âAvinashi Anant Vijayamâ meaning âIndestructible Shall Ever Be Victoriousâ
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