Headquarters Maintenance Command was formed on January 26, 1955 at Chakeri, Kanpur with the objectives of providing repair/overhaul facility for various aircraft fleet and other systems of the Indian Air Force and logistic support to all operational units. Gp Capt Harjinder Singh, the then senior-most technical officer of IAF was appointed as the Commander of this command. All Base Repair Depots, Equipment Depots and other establishments consisting of eleven units at that time were placed under this command. It was a small but decisive beginning.
The growing importance of this command necessitated a more centralised location. Maharashtra Government stepped in and provided land in the aesthetically beautiful Seminary Hills at Nagpur. A new township, named Vayusena Nagar, was set up and Headquarters Maintenance Command shifted to Nagpur in 1963. Vayusena Nagar is an elevated suburb of Nagpur at a distance of about 10 kms from Nagpur railway station. Since then, Maintenance Command has grown in size with its units spread throughout the length and breadth of the country.
With the proliferation of equipment in Air Force, the responsibilities of the command also increased. The command undertakes major repair and periodic overhauling of all aircraft (except those manufactured by HAL), ground environment systems, equipment including SAGW missiles and Air Defence Radars in the inventory of IAF. It also takes care of bulk storage and delivery up to field formations of all IAF equipment and spare parts.
Development and incorporation of major modifications, fabrication of support equipment and indigenisation of essential spares which are not readily available through normal sources is also one of the major responsibilities of the command.
Indigenisation of spares for aircraft, missiles, air defence radars, aircraft support vehicles and ground support systems is another area of responsibility of this Golden Command.
The role of Maintenance Command and the units placed under it, is four-fold:
- Major Repair and periodic overhauls of all aircraft (except those manufactured by M/s HAL ) and ground environment systems equipment including SAGW missiles and Air Defence Radars held in the inventory of IAF;
- Bulk storage and delivery up to field formation of all IAF equipment and its spare parts;
- Development and incorporation of major modification, fabrication of support equipment and indigenisation of essential spares which are not readily available through normal sources; and
- Indigenisation of spares for Aircraft, Missiles, Air Defence Radars, Aircraft Support Vehicles and Ground Support Systems.
Maintenance Command was set up to provide maintenance support to operating bases both by undertaking overhaul and repair of aircraft, aeroengines, ground requipments, radars and missiles and warehousing of stores required during peace and war.
These works are undertaken by Base Repair Depots (BRDs), Equipment Depots (EDs) and Air Storage Parks (ASPs). These units have most modern and state of the art equipment to undertake repair and overhaul of various weapon systems. The stores are also well preserved under controlled environment to accrue the most of storage life.
The operational fitness of IAF is directly dependent on the availability of its aircraft fleet and Ground Environmental Systems. The degree of readiness and quantum of availability of aircraft and systems are the end results of the 'Maintenance' Management Function. Engineering and Logistics, form the two functional arms of the 'Maintenance' activity.
A large number of establishments, units and depots are engaged in executing various facets of IAF Maintenance management function. As early as 1950s, it was realised that for better functional efficiency, the affairs of these establishments, should be managed by a group of senior experts in the concerned disciplines. This was in recognition of the fact that Engineering and Logistics are correlated disciplines calling for specialised supervision, monitoring, control and direction. Here in lies the 'Raison D' etre' of IAF Maintenance Command.
In order to meet the above felt need of the IAF, a functional Command named 'Maintenance Command' was formed on 26th January, 1955 at Chakeri, Kanpur. Necessary accommodation was carved out of the existing buildings of Air Force Complex at Kanpur. All the Base Repair Depots, Equipment Depots and allied establishments consisting of a total of eleven units were placed under its Command and Control. This has since grown into a full-fledged Command with its units and establishments spread over throughout India.
Soon, it was realised that a suitable permanent location would be required for the effective functioning of HQ Maintenance Command. As the Units under the Command are spread all over India, a central location like Nagpur was considered appropriate. Maharashtrta Government provided the required facilities including land. The Command Headquarters was shifted to Nagpur during the year 1963 with a set of new buildings constructed on the area of Seminary Hills at Nagpur.
As of 2000, there were 46 units under Maintenance Command. This included 9 Base Repair Depots, 8 Equipment Depots, 3 Air Storage Parks and 27 other Miscellaneous units and detachments. Base Repair Depots and AMSE were set up to provide repair, overhaul facilities for aircraft, aero-engines, Radars, Missiles, Ground equipment systems and aircraft support vehicles. Equipment Depots were established to provide spare support for efficient and smooth maintenance of weapon systems used in Indian Air Force. They have varied storage facilities, expeditious issue and procurement to maintain the stock levels. Air Storage Parks were established to provide support to aircraft operating at field locations with storage facilities for required spares. They are equipped with state of the art machines and equipment to meet the operation requirements of the IAF.
During 1998, procurement of spares for eight weapon systems was transferred to Maintenance Command.
Maintenance Command, IAF, also undertakes activities related to procurement of various types of items from Civil Vendors.
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