By Wg Cdr Prakash S Sanadi
3rd DECEMBER 1971
The IAF had called off Operation Cactus Lily in the Western Sector with the defeat and surrender of East Pakistan. No. 45 Sqn (MiGs) were ordered to pack up from Amritsar and move back to Chandigarh as the war in the East was over. A detachment of No 2 Squadron (Gnats), on ORP and Operational duties, also operating from Amritsar, was asked to wind up and return to Ambala.
Sandy (Flt Lt PS Sanadi) was in Ambala waiting to ferry a Gnat aircraft under engine change to Amritsar. He was instructed to report immediately to Amritsar by Wg Cdr JW Greene Commanding Officer of No 2 Squadron to help in the winding up of 2 Sqn detachment. Sandy was planning to leave Ambala by train the same evening when he got a call from Mrs Greene to say she would be accompanying him as the war scenario in the western sector was over and her visit to Amritsar was agreed to by her husband. Geeta, Sandy’s wife also decided to join in the joy ride to Amritsar. So the train journey was cancelled and Sandy decided to drive down to Amritsar in his Fiat car.
Continue reading A hair-raising incident with Gnats
By Group Captain Kapil Bhargava (Retd)
In early 1954, Indian Air Force defined its Operational Requirements (OR) anticipating that its adversaries would most likely be China and Pakistan. Intelligence information with Air HQ identified the probability of Pakistan being supplied with fighter aircraft from the US, China and Russia. India would need not only to procure aircraft to meet any threat, but also ensure that long-term air defence needs would be met by large-scale design and manufacture in India.
An elite team was picked to study, test and recommend new aircraft and weapons systems that would fulfil the operational requirements of the next 10-15 years. The team was headed by Air Cdre PC Lal, with members Gp Capt H Moolgavkar, Squadron Leaders Roshan Lal Suri (test pilot), Suranjan Das (test pilot), Srinivasan (Sigs), UK Nair (Armt), K Sarwate (Elec) and Fit. Lt. Jacob Chakko (Tech Eng).
Following IAF’s purchase of hundreds of Ouragans from France, world markets realised that India was a big buyer. She had the necessary foreign exchange reserves, and would not allow her Independence to be compromised by letting the big powers to dictate to her. European countries by then had a healthy respect for the Indian point of view as put out by PM Nehru. All of a sudden, everyone wanted to sell aircraft, guns, ships, tanks and a whole heap of military hardware to India. After all, such sales would boost their own countries’ economic well-being.
Continue reading Why IAF went for the Gnat?