Facts about Indian Air Force

by Sachin Kumar on December 3, 2013

Indian Air Force is the air arm of Indian Armed Force. With over 2400 aircrafts and 1,27,000 personnel, Indian Air Force is the 4th largest Air Force of the world. IAF ensures the security of Indian airspace and conduct aerial warfare during war/conflicts.

Since from the independence, IAF has played an important role in all the wars against Pakistan, war against China and actively supports Indian Army. IAF played an important role in providing disaster relief during natural calamities. Read this article to find out various aspects of Indian Air Force.

Structure of Indian Air Force

Chief of the Air Staff with the rank of Air Chief Marshal is the head of the Indian Air Force. Indian Headquarters is at New Delhi.


The Indian Air Force is divided into five operational and two functional commands. Each Command is headed by an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of Air Marshal.

Operational Commands and their Locations

  • Central Air Command – Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
  • Western Air Command – Subroto Park, New Delhi
  • South Western Air Command – Gandhinagar, Gujarat
  • Southern Air Command – Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  • Eastern Air Command – Shillong, Meghalaya

Functional Commands and their Locations

  • Training Command Bangalore, Karnataka
  • Maintenance Command Nagpur, Maharashtra


A Wing is a formation intermediate between a Command and a Squadron. A wing generally comprises 2 or 3 IAF Squadrons and Helicopter Units, along with Forward Base Support Units (FBSU). A wing is commanded by a Group Captain.


FBSUs do not host any Squadrons or Helicopter units but they act as transit airbases for routine operations. In times of conflict, they can be converted into operational air bases and can host squadron and helicopter units.


Squadrons are the intermediate between a wing and flights. Squadrons are the field units and formations attached to static locations. A squadron is mainly a unit comprising of typically 12 to 24 military aircrafts and their flight crews, usually of the same type.
Land based squadrons which are equipped with heavier type aircraft such as long-range bombers, cargo aircrafts and air refueling tankers have around 12 aircrafts. All fighter squadrons are headed by a Wing Commander. Some Transport squadrons and Helicopter Units are headed by a Group Captain.


A flight usually comprises 3 to 6 aircraft with their aircrews and ground staff. In the case of a non-flying ground flight, roughly equivalent numbers of support personnel are in a flight. Multiple flights, usually 3 to 4 flights makes up a squadron.

Training Institutes of Indian Air Force:

Institutes and their locations:

  • Air Force Academy – Dundigal, Hyderabad
  • Air Force Flying School – Jalahalli
  • Flying Instructors School – Tambaram
  • Elementary Flying School – Bidar
  • Indian Air Force Test Pilot School – Bangalore
  • School of Aviation Medicine – Bangalore
  • Air Force Technical Training College – Jalahalli, Bangalore
  • College of Air Warfare – Secundrabad
  • Pilot Training Establishment – Allahabad
  • Air Force Administrative College – Coimbatore
  • Paratrooper’s Training School – Agra
  • Fighter and Transport Training Wings – Hakimpet and Yelahanka

Garud Commando Force

Garud Commando Force is the special force on Indian Air Force. The main task of the Garud Commando Force is to protect the critical Air Force bases and installations from terrorist attacks. Garuds are also capable of counter-terrorism, anti-hijacking, radar busting, hostage rescue, lasing of targets to support air operations
Garuds are also capable of undertaking search and rescue operations, rescue of friendly soldiers, aid during natural calamities and other military tasks. Garuds are also deployed in Congo as a part of UN peace Keeping operations.

Aerobatics Display Teams

Surya Kiran is the major aerobatics display team of the Indian Air Force. The Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) operates 9 HAL HJT-16 Kiran Mk.2 trainer aircrafts. IAF has begun the process of converting Surya Kirans to BAE Hawks. It will take 2–3 years for the team to completely shift to Hawks.

Sarang is the Helicopter Display Team of the Indian Air Force. The team flies 4 HAL Dhruvs painted in red and white with a peacock figure at each side of the fuselage.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

SHIVA SHARMA December 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Hello sir thanks for informative article , i have a doubt : i’ve been shortlisted for PC(EDU) Entry ON 5th Jan and SSC(Observer) on 8th Jan. It would be impossible to attend both ,what to do??any suggestion???


Anjali Sharma May 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm

thankyou for d informative article! Sir wanted to ask I hav my Airforce ssb this month so how should I strt with patice I was bsy with my exms so can’t join ssb coachng


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