No.7 Squadron

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Shatrunjay – Vanquish the Enemy


No.7 Squadron , Indian Air Force was formed on 01st December 1942 at Vizagapatnam under the command of Sqn Ldr Hem Chaudhuri. Under Air HQ formation order 268 dated 18 Nov 42, personnel from 104 Squadron, IAF and 353 Squadron, RAF as well as Nos 3 and 6 Coastal Defence Flights were drawn to provide No.7 with manpower. Since the Vultee Vengeance aircraft with which the Squadron had to equip was yet to arrive, the formation used Wapiti and Audax aircraft of the CDFs for the time being.

After W/T course at Bombay and Operational Training at 152 OTU in Peshawar, the unit acquired its first aircraft on 20 April 1943 at Phaphamau, near Allahabad. By mid 1943, flying training and gunnery training was being accomplished at Kohat. The first taste of action was over Northern Waziristan on 3 Dec 43, when Flt Lt KL Bhatia and Flt Lt PC Lal dive bombed targets near the Tochi river. Pending transfer to the Burma front , the unit was delegated to go to Gwalior for training with an Army formation for close support activities. While the first batch of two aircraft being ferried made the flight to Gwalior safely, the second batch of aircraft had run into poor visibility and dust storms. Of the nine aircraft that flew in this batch on 19 Feb 44, three crashed. Two pilots and two gunners were killed, while Fg Offr Gocal and his Gunner Ghosh survived their forced landing. The remaining aircraft arrived at Gwalior the next day. After training extensively with the Army, the Battleaxes were given orders to move to Kumbhirgham in Assam by 12 March 1944. The Squadron deployed at the Uderbund airstrip, about 12 km from Kumbhirgham.

Second World War: 7 Squadrons first tour.

The first operational sorties from Uderbund were flown on 28 Mar 44, when six Vengeance bombers led by Sqn Ldr Chaudhuri attacked Kenji on the Chindwin. The operations continued into the month of April 44, when targets like Myothit, Japanese army encampments at Imphal, Army convoys on theTiddim Road etc were just a few of the umpteen number of missions flown by the Battleaxes. The first fatal loss was on 1st May, when Fg Offr EH Dadabhoy was lost flying in the bad weather in a valley west of Imphal. His gunner, JH Dordi baled out of the aircraft and was able to trek back to friendly lines over the next two days. On 8th May, Fg Offr M Latif Khan’s Vengeance crashed just after take off. Though the gunner Sgt Ghosh was extricated out of the aircraft, Fg Offr Khan was found to be dead in his harness. The aircraft’s ordnance exploded soon after. Another casuality was towards the end of May, when Fg Offr M Engineer was trying to formate with a group of USAAF B-25 bombers after getting lost. Mistaking him to be a Japanese Oscar, the B-25 gunners fired on the Vengeance, killing Sgt KC Ball, the rear gunner.

The rest of operations involved Dive Bombing missions on numerous sorties on Maungdaw and Razabil, with the Vengeance being the ideal weapon of war against the targets in the mountains and thick jungles. At the begining of June, the Battleaxes were told to move to Ranchi . Command of the unit passed onto Sqn Ldr AB Awan. His tenure was short, on 21st July 44, Sqn Ldr PC Lal took over as the CO of the Unit. Three months into his command, the Squadron was to move to Peshawar to convert to the Hawker Hurricane. The conversion started in earnest and the Battleaxes took on their new role with gusto doing over 1000 Hours on the new aircraft by Dec 44. Close cooperation with the Army followed by the allocation of Tac R Role for the squadron. In March 45, the Squadron was sent on its second tour of duty on the Burma Front.

Second Tour

The move to Imphal was completed by the end of March, with the first op sortie on the Hurri being flown on the 30th, when some river craft were attacked near Seikpyn. Recce and close support patrols were the order of the day during those times. At one point, the Hurris provided escort to the aircraft of 1 Squadron on a recce role. On 14th Apr 44, Fg Offr JS Kochar flying a Hurricane lost airspeed in a turn while dropping a message to XXXIII Corps HQ and was killed in the impact. Two weeks later the first casuality due to hostile action occurred, when Fg Offr KR Rao flew into a steel wire stretched by the Japanese over the Irrawady. Fg Offr NS Prasad was shot down and killed by ground fire two days later over the same area. However the month of April saw the Squadron carry out a fantastic total of 1033 hours of flying, which was unequalled by any other Squadron in the 221 Group.

The month of May saw allied forces go further south into Burma towards Rangoon which fell on 2 May. To provide more prompt support, the squadron flew south to Magwe airfield. On 11 May, a Japanese Army Convoy was totaled by accurate bombing. Five days later, the Battleaxes were commended by 221 Group and told to stop Operations. The same day, sadly saw the loss of Fg Offr Dolly Engineer, who crashed trying belly land his Hurricane.

The Squadron moved to Samungli in June 1945. And from then till the Japanese surrender in August 45, carried out mundane duties like DDT spraying and leaflet dropping over the NWFP. Sqn Ldr Lal handed over command to HC Dewan in Sept 1945. In October 1945, for his leadership of the squadron in the unit’s second tour of Operations, Sqn Ldr Lal was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), the last such award given to the IAF in WW2. In November 1945, the Battleaxes requipped with the Supermarine Spitfire , after moving to Gwalior.

Independence and 1947-48 Kashmir Ops

As partition approached in 1947, the Squadron was based at Risalpur, having given up its Spitfires to convert to the Hawker Tempest II in June 1947. No.7 Squadron was one of the units allocated to India after the division of the Assets between the two new nations of India and Pakistan. When in July 47, Sqn Ldr Mishra, the CO was killed in a Jeep Accident, Sqn Ldr SB Noronha was sent to take his place. Sqn Ldr Noronha moved the personnel to Agra after partition by train and plane (More reading Partition Troubles). The unit procured its aircraft at Agra and was operational within two months of Independence.

Nov 47, provided the first taste of action for the Post Independence Indian Air Force and 7 Squadron in particular. In response to the tribal invasion of the Kashmir kingdom and subsequent accession by the Maharaja, India flew in troops and stationed fighters at Srinagar. Tempests of 7 Squadron flew from Ambala in support of Indian Ground troops in the decisive Battle of Shelatang, offensive missions against Uri, Kotli and Rawalkot. Nov 47 saw 124 Operational sorties by the unit. No losses occurred, but on 1 Dec 47, Fg Offr UA D’Cruz was shot down and taken prisoner when his Harvard was shot down by ground fire. He was later awarded the Kirti Chakra (then Ashoka Chakra Cl.II) for his resilience in captivity. For the initial days of operations, the CO Sqn Ldr Noronha was later awarded the Maha Vir Chakra. Flt Lt BS Dogra received the Vir Chakra for his sorties during the Battle of Shalateng.

Command of the Battleaxes went to Sqn Ldr ED Massilamani in Feb 48. The Squadron redeployed at Palam on a permanent basis. Though ops were flown over J and K from the Advanced Landing Ground at Amritsar. Missions were flown in the Poonch area, against the Skardu airfield, as well as the Tithwal area. Wg Cdr Ranjan Dutt along with some pilots of 7 Sqn flew to attack the bridge at Domel. The Squadron also provided close support to the 163 Brigade’s advance in the Tithwal sector, where it suffered some losses. The first fatality happened when Fg Offr Balwant Singh’s Tempest was shot down on 16 Mar 48 killing him. Fg Offr DG Baptiste was shot down by ground fire and killed on 12 Sep 48. On another occasion, Fg Offr UG Wright had to bale out over Pandu after his Tempest was hit by AA fire. Fg Offr Palamkote had a large portion of his rudder shot away over the Kishenganga, but he managed to fly back safely.

Starting August, the squadron set up base in Srinagar and provided support to the army operations in the Zoji La area. The Gilgit airfield was bombed by Tempests on 4 Nov 48. Sqn Ldr Massilamani and Flt Lt Dogra while returning from an attack on Chilas airfield, intercepted a RPAF Dakota aircraft. Though warning shots were fired the Dakota managed to give the Tempest pilots the slip and escape. As the operations in Kashmir were drawing to a close, the Squadron flew nearly 330 Hours in the last two months of 1948. Five more Vir Chakras were awarded to the pilots of the Squadron namely to the CO Sqn Ldr Massilamani, Flt Lt RL Suri, Fg Offrs Nobby Clark and GC Wilkes.

The Coming of the Jet Age

The Squadron moved to Palam in Jan 49, where it was selected to be the first unit in the Indian Air Force to operate the De Havilland Vampire. At that time the squadron became the first unit in the whole of Asia to operate Jet aircraft. The first three Vampires arrived in Nov 48 and were taken on charge by a special unit called the ATU under Sqn Ldr CD Subia. Three more pilots (Mickey Blake, GD Clarke and Kuriyan) from 7 Squadron formed the flight which was tasked with fully exploring the capabilities of the Vampires and help the IAF operate the type. In mid 1949, the ATU was merged into 7 Squadron, with Sqn Ldr Subia taking over command from Masillamani. The unit now operated one flight with Vampires and the second flight with Tempests.

Click to Enlarge

The earliest record of an aircraft carrying the Battle Axe emblem – A Spitfire XVIII borrowed by Air Marshal R Ivelaw-Chapman for a visit to Kanpur. Gp Capt Harjinder Singh is the receiving Officer.

End of 1949 , No.7 reconverted back to Spitfires, due to the low serviceability of the Tempests. More Vampires supplemented the initial three aircraft. But one was lost in Feb 51 when Sqn Ldr Dogra was killed in a crash whilst in a landing circuit. Sqn Ldr GK John was sent to take over Command of the Squadron. The Spitfires were discarded by late 1951 and the unit became an ‘All Vampire’ Squadron by November. About this time, the unit formed the first formation aerobatic team of the Indian Air Force. A breath taking formation aerobatics display by three Vampires of the squadron, flown by Flt Lt RD Law, Fg Offr Bharat Singh, Fg Offr Kapil Bhargava (and later by Fg Offr OP Taneja) became a regular feature at most ceremonial occasions of the Indian Air Force

A number of pilots converted to the Vampire flying with No.7. The Vampires were operated for another six years till 1957, when No.7 was designated as one of the first unit to convert to the Hawker Hurricane transonic fighter. The squadron converted in Jan 1958, under the command of Sqn Ldr WD Mc Neil. Still based at Palam, the regular routine duties were embellished with flying escorts to visiting dignitaries as well as the Republic Day flypasts. [See Battle Axes : Photo Album from 50s]


This painting shows the Battle Axes logo adorning the MiG-21MFs during the 70s
The ‘Battle Axe’ logo was formally approved by the President of India in Sept 1960, Though No.7 Squadron was using the emblem unofficially for many years preceding that.

The Farsha or ‘Battle Axes’ represented Lord Parshurama’s weapon. It had four cutting edges and had two unfurled wings adorning it on either side. The symbolic number ‘7’ is attached to the shaft of the Battle Axe. The Squadron motto was “Shatrunjay“, meaning ‘Vanquish the enemy’. The Battle Axe represented the most lethal close combat weapon of the epics and was supposed to reflect on the offensive capability of the Squadron.

In 1961, Sqn Ldr Bharat Singh, the CO pioneered formation aerobatics in the Hunter. and soon No.7 Squadron had perfected a nine aircraft formation flying team that was called upon by Air HQ for numerous displays. At this time the unit was based in Ambala. The onset of the Indo China war in Oct 62 put the squadron on Alert. Wg Cdr LM Katre was the CO at that time. No offensive sorties were called upon by the government which had decided that the IAF’s role should be limited only to Supply and Casuality evacuation. On August 64, Wg Cdr Toric Zacharaiah had taken over as CO from Wg Cdr Lakshman Katre. It was under him, the Battleaxes would fight the first major war post independence.

The India Pakistan War 1965

In 1965, as fighting flared up in the Chamb sector on 1 Sep, the Battle Axes were based at Halwara and in a high state of alert. The squadron was called upon to carry out its first offensive sorties on the morning of 6th Sept, when numerous sorties were flown against ‘Targets of Opportunity’ in support of the Indian army’s offensive across the International border. Twelve sorties were flown from morning to dusk in interdiction over the IB. Towards evening, a mission of four Hunters led by Wg Cdr Zachariah ran into PAF Sabres over Tarn Tarn. In the ensuing aircombat, Sqn Ldr AK Rawlley’s aircraft hit the ground and exploded. The Hunters disengaged from the fight and aborted the mission.

Moments later, Halwara airfield was raided by F-86 Sabres of the PAF. At that time Fg Offr PS Pingale and Fg Offr AR Ghandhi , both from 7 Squadron were on CAP over Halwara when they were bounced and shot down by Sabres. Both ejected safely, but not before Fg Offr Ghandhi had managed to damage a F-86 Sabre before he ejected. The Battle was joined by Hunters of No.27 which shot down two of the attacking Sabres.

In retaliation to the airraid, No.7 Squadron was called upon to do a strike against the Sargodha air base at dawn on Sept 7. Led by Wg Cdr Zacharaiah, five Hunters took off on on that day, but were intercepted enroute by enemy fighters. The mission was aborted, but two of the escorts, flown by Sqn Ldr SB Bhagwat and Fg Offr JS Brar were shot down. The unit involved itself in Close support missions from then on.

Since Hunters of different squadrons were clubbed together at Halwara and missions flown consisting of mixed formations. The 7 Sqn Hunters were joined by about a flight of Hunters from No.20 Squadron from Palam. Several sorties were flown over the next two days. A formation led by Flt Lt CKK Menon was successful in destroying an ammunition train at Kasur on Sep 8. On Sep 9, Sqn Ldr Bishnoi led a mission against ground targets in the Lahore area. However after returning from the mission, Fg Offr SK Sharma (of 7 Sqn) collided with Fg Offr GS Ahuja’s (of 27 Sqn) Hunter. Though Ahuja was killed in the collision, Sharma was able to land back his badly damaged Hunter successfully.

More interdiction sorties followed, with Sqn Ldrs MM Sinha, SS Malik, AS Lamba , Dice Dhiman etc making their mark in various missions. A B-57 raid on the night of Sept 14th at Halwara destroyed two of the squadron’s Hunters on the ground.

The Squadron had a successful encounter on Sept 16th, when Fg Offr PS Pingale shot down a F-86 Sabre over Tarn Tarn after a thrilling combat. His wingman Fg Offr Farokh Dara Bunsha of 20 Sqn was shot down and killed by another Sabre. Fg Offr SK Sharma had another close shave when his Hunter was badly damaged in an aircombat over Kasur on Sept 20. He baled out successfully. However Sqn Ldr DP Chatterjee, who had joined 7 Sqn on deputation from 20 Sqn was killed in the same combat.

The 1965 war saw the squadron in the thick of the action. The Battleaxes flew 453 sorties (Incl 109 CAP) amounting to nearly 333 Hours. 218 rockets and 13000 lbs of bombs were expended. In the course of the war, the squadron flew a total of 128 strike missions and 46 Combat Air Patrol sorties. Three pilots were killed along with another two on deputation from 20 Sqn. Nine aircraft were lost in the course of the war.

The Battleaxes received 4 VrCs (S Malik, AS Lamba, PS Pingale and AR Ghandhi) and five mentioned in dispatches. Three more pilots from 20 Sqn got the Vir Chakra.

1965-1971 Period

The Battle axes moved to Hindon in Nov 65. In the years that followed the Squadron took on the role of an OCU. A separate Hunter Trainer Flight being added. In 1969, under the command of Wg Cdr Harry Chatwal, the BattleAxes made a move to the eastern sector , setting up base at Baghdogra by March 1969. Then onwards, the training, low level flying continued unabated. At one point of time in July 69, the unit had 44 pilots on its roll, including 24 Plt Offrs. During this period only one pilot was lost, Plt Offr Rajan whose Hunter exploded after take off. In July 1970, Wg Cdr BA Coelho took over as CO. The Battle Axes were to be tested again in combat in less than an year and a half from then!

Operations in 1971

When the 1971 war flared out on Dec 3 with the failed preemptive strike by the PAF, the Squadron was fully geared up for the days to come at Baghdogra. The first missions of the war were flown on the morning of Dec 4 against Pakistani Army Targets. One mission flown by Sqn Ldr AD Alley and Fg Offr Mohan Dikshit was successful in destroying the bridge over the River Theesta. Another mission to attack a train at Lal Munir Hat was encountered by fierce anti aircraft fire in which two Hunters were eventually lost. Both the Hunters in the mission were badly damaged. Fg Offr Andre Da Costa managed to cross the border back into Indian territory when his Hunter went out of control and crashed, killing him. The leader of the mission, SK Gupta had to eject over Baghdogra airfield.

Strikes continued on Dec 5th, when news of an impending move to the Western Sector was received. After flying about 40 sorties in the Eastern Sector, No.7 flew to Hindon on Dec 6 stopping at Kanpur midway. From Hindon, one flight of eight Hunters deployed at Nal on Dec 7. The pilots familiarized themselves with the terrain and the sector on that day. In one of the first sorties on Dec 8 against Pakistani Army tanks at Ganganagar, Wg Cdr Coelho’s Hunter was hit by ground fire and he ejected in No mans land. However before our troops could reach him, he was captured by the Pakistanis. Other interdiction sorties were flown against targets in the Suleimanke Headworks area.

On Dec 9, Fg Offr DJA De Figueiredo flew back his Hunter after it was badly damaged by ground fire. The same day Fg Offr Diskhit landed back in a Hunter with the fuel gauges reading zero!.

Command of the Squadron was taken over by Wg Cdr NC Suri who arrived from Delhi. Within a couple of days, he had to move the Squadron to Pathankot to relieve one of the Hunter Squadrons already there. After moving to Pathankot the squadron was involved in flying close support missions till the end of the war. When the war ended, Three Vir Chakras were awarded to the pilots, AR Da Costa (Posthumous), Sqn Ldr Alley and Fg Offr Dikshit. Fg Offr Sidhu was given a VM. Three other pilots were mentioned in dispatches.

Post 71 – Flying the Fishbed

After the war ended, the unit moved to Nal again. In early 72, Wg Cdr Suri led the BattleAxes to a more permanent base at Palam. Wg Cdr R V Singh took over in Feb 72. Soon after in June 73, the unit was ordered to move to Chandigarh to equip itself with the MiG-21MF. The handing over of Hunters was carried out in July 1. During that phase , on 23 July, Fg Offr Sofat had to eject from a Hunter as he was approaching Kalaikunda.

The conversion to the MiG-21MF was completed by middle of 1974 with only one aircraft lost in the training period — the Pilot Fg Offr Thapar baled out when his engine flamed out on the downward leg. Wg Cdr RV Singh was succeeded by Wg Cdr Trilochan Singh VrC on 29 July 74. The Squadron was continued flying the Type 96s for the rest of the decade.

Wg Cdr SG Inamdar (Later Air Marshal and Commodore Commandant of No.7) took over command in Mar 80. 20 Dec 80 was a red letter day for the Squadron. The President of India, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy presented the Squadron Standards to both Nos 6 and 7 Squadrons at Poona. Soon afterwards in the autumn of 1981, The Battle Axes were told to hand over their MFs to 108 Squadron and take on the MiG-21M version, which had a slightly underrated engine than the MF version. In 1982, the Battle Axes achieved the much coveted ‘Best Squadron in the IAF Award’ for the year 1981-82, a feather in the cap for all the personnel of the Squadron.

The coming of the Vajra

In the first months of 1985, With the Mirage 2000 having been chosen as a primary fighter to counter the PAF’s F-16s, the government of India had decided that No.7 Squadron will be one of the units to operated the state of the art fighter. Accordingly the assets of No.7 were transferred to a newly raised formation, No. 51 Squadron ‘The Sword Arms’.

The new CO designate was Wg Cdr Ajit Bhavnani. After completion of training in France, the first Mirage 2000s were ferried in by the pilots in June 1985. On 29th June, No.7 Squadron was formally reborn again with Wg Cdr Bhavnani as the CO at Gwalior AFS. The subsequent period was spent in working out tactics for the new aircraft and weapon systems. DACT Training with MiG-21s and Jaguars were carried out frequently.

Op Poolmalai and Cactus

On 4 June 1987, the IAF had carried out one of its first ever missions over the airspace of another country, when An-32s dropped food supplies over the Jaffna Peninsula of Sri Lanka. In anticipation of air opposition from the Sri Lankan Air Force, Four Mirage 2000s from the Battle Axes were sent as escort. Wg Cdr Bhavnani led the escort which kept top cover over the slow moving An-32s, while another Mirage stood patrol over the coastline.

Wg Cdr AV Vaidya took over command on 22nd June 1987 from Ajit Bhavnani and the Squadron now back in Gwalior participating in exercises. About this time DACT with MiG-29s were carried out. A detachment was sent to Srinagar and then onto flights over Ladakh in Mid 1988.

The Battle Axes were called into action again on 3 Nov 88 during Operation Cactus, when a military coup occurred in the tiny island nation of Maldives. While the Il-76s of No.44 Squadron flew in troops from the Para brigade into the capital Male, six Mirages operating from Trivandrum made several passes over the Islands in a show of force. Wg Cdr Vaidya led the first formation with Flt Lt R Nambiar over the Hulule airfield.

Wg Cdr Vaidya was succeeded by Wg Cdr Ramesh Bakshi in June 89. During this period one detachment was based at Trivandrum. Wg Cdr Bakshi was tragically killed while doing a solo Aerobatic display at the Air Force Day Parade at Palam on 8 Oct 89. He failed to pullout in time from a downward vertical charlie and crashed into the ground. A sad loss to the squadron.

The Squadron was quickly back on track under Wg Cdr M John, who was later succeeded by Wg Cdr Nandrajog. It was under Nandrajog that the Golden Jubilee Celebrations were held at Gwalior for the first time. The occasion saw the Air Chief, Air Chief Marshal Nirmal Suri making a sortie in a dual seater logging his 6000th hour of flying!

The Battleaxeswonthe coveted ‘Best IAF Fighter Squadron Of The Year’ trophy, first in 1981-82, did it again in 1998-99, under Wg Cdr Mohit Kumar: a unique double!!.

Kargil Operations in May 1999 – Op Safed Sagar

The call for action was back again in May 99, to assist the Army in countering the increased militant activity in the area North, North-East of Kargil. The Battle Axes at that time was under the command of Wg Cdr Sandeep Chabra. For the first time, the IAF had employed Precision Guided Munitions in an effort to strike at the supply lines of the enemy forces. When one of the first attempts by a Jaguar ended up in failure, the Mirages took over the task of delivering the LGBs. Tigerhill, Muntho Dalo, Tololing, were a just some of the many targets hit. Adampur was the air base from where the High level strikes were launched. With grit and resilience, the enemy was evicted from their fortified bunkers and earth work by these day/night LGB attacks as well as Toss bombing of 1000lbers. On one particular sorite, a Mirage came upon a Pakistani Army Helicopter , but did not engage as it was in the moment of crossing back over the LoC.

The Commanding Officer of the Squadron received the Yuddh Seva Medal (YSM). Wg Cdr R Nambiar, who was an experienced test pilot attached to 7 Squadron during the course of operations was awarded the Vayusena Medal (VM). He had flown over 25 sorties during that period delivering precision attacks using the PGMs. Sqn Ldr DB Patnaik, who flew in the rear seat during the PGM strike on Tiger Hill also recieved the VM. Sqn Ldr AS Heer, another pilot who showed ingenuity in using a Hand held Video Camera to record the effects of the bombing as well as Sqn Ldr KI Ravi, who helped in adapting the 1000lb bombs to the Mirage were also given the VM.

Diamond Jubilee

The Battle Axes celebrates its Diamond Jubilee (1942-2002) on 02 December 2002, at Gwalior, under Wg Cdr Rajesh Kumar. In their six decades of existence, they have built upon the foundations left by their predecessors and are all set to come to the call of the nation whenever it is required.


Commodore Commandants of 7 Squadron

Name Date/Year
Air Marshal HN Chatterjee, PVSM DFC 01 Jan 75 – 07 Oct 79
Air Marshal GK John PVSM 08 Oct 79 – Nov 85
AVM Man Singh
Air Marshal Trilochan Singh
Air Marshal S G Inamdar

List of Commanding Officers of No.7 Squadron

Gallantry and Service Awardees of No.7 Squadron

List of CAS from No.7 Sqn

Name of the CAS To
Air Chief Marshal PC Lal 1955-60
Air Chief Marshal LM Katre 1984-85
Air Chief Marshal DA La Fontaine 1985-88
Air Chief Marshal SK Mehra 1988-90
Air Chief Marshal NC Suri 1990-92

Aircraft Types operated by 7 Squadron

Aircraft Type From To
Westland Wapiti Dec 1942 Apr 1943
Vultee Vengeance Apr 1943 Oct 1944
Hawker Hurricane IIc Oct 1944 Nov 1945
Supermarine Spitfire VIII Nov 1945 Jun 1947
Hawker Tempest II Jun 1947 Jan 1950
De Havilland Vampire F3 Jun 1949 Dec 1949
Supermarine Spitfire XVIII Dec 1949 Aug 1951
De Havilland Vampire FB52 Feb 1951 Dec 1957
Hawker Hunter F.56 Dec 1957 Jun 1973
MiG-21 MF Jun 1973 Jun 1981
MiG-21 M Jun 1981 Nov 1984
Mirage 2000H Jun 1985 Till Date
Other Types operated by the Squadron as trainer and hack aircraft: Harvard IIb, Vampire T.55 , Hunter T66, MiG-21U, Mirage 2000TH

Locations of the Squadron

Locations – Post 1947 From To
Palam 1949 1961
Ambala 1961 1964
Halwara 1964 1965
Hindon 1965 1969
Baghdogra 1969 1971
Nal 1971 1972
Hindon 1972 1973
Chandigarh 1973 1985
Gwalior 1985 Till Date


Special Thanks to Mr. Pushpindar Singh for his book on No.7 Squadron which has formed the basis for this history. The publication ‘The Battle Axes’ is based on the Squadron diaries maintained by No.7 Sqn.

Adapted from the 7 Squadron IAF : The Battle Axes by Mr. Pushpindar Singh
My Years with the IAF –
Air Chief Marshal PC Lal
Aircraft of the Indian Air Force 1933-73 –
Mr. Pushpindar Singh
History of the Indian Air Force 1933-1945
by Mr. SC Gupta, Combined Historical Cell, India-Pakistan Armed Forces.
The India Pakistan Air War of 1965 – by P V S Jagan Mohan & Samir Chopra,Bharat Rakshak
No.7 Squadron History, Official Indian Air Force Site at
Common Wealth War Graves Commission Website
Unpublished Recollections of Serving and Retired Air Force personnel

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