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Corps of Army Air Defence

The Army, which is responsible for air defense under 5000 feet, controls SA-6, SA-7, Tigercat, and AAA assets. In keeping with the traditions inherited from Regiment of Artillery, a deep bond, reverence and attachment remains with the AD guns and the missile launchers. The esteem afforded to the guns and the missile launchers is evident even in peace time. The guns or the missile launcher are saluted when work starts in the morning or ends for the day. When a gun or a missile launchers passes in front of the quarter guard, it is given a "General Salute". This tradition is rigidly followed and reflects the respect that the personnel of AAD display at all times for their guns and the missile launchers.

The Japanese air threat in SE Asia during the Second World War forced the British Government to raise AD units in India. Thus the history of AD Artillery in India began 1939 onwards when a few Indian troops began to be trained in the use of the 3 inch gun and later the 40mm L/60 gun as part of the Anti-aircraft (AA) Batteries of Hongkong and Singapore Royal Artillery (HKSRA) and Indian Artillery. From 1941 onwards AA units and training establishments began to be raised in India with Indian Officers and men being posted into these establishments from the Artillery and infantry initially, and later through fresh commission and enrolment.

In UK, Policy makers for artillery had decided to retain TA units for static role tasks and to raise regular army AA units for the field armies. As a consequence, the HAA units were raised for static role against high altitude bombers, while LAA units were raised for mobile role against low flying fighter aircraft. The same concept was followed after independence.

The orgaisation of AA units and formations, though akin to artillery for command and control, evolved on the basis of gun density requirement for protection of Vulnerable Points and Areas. Terminology used was, of course, that of the Artillery which remains so till date. No organized concept of allotment or scales existed, although fire control coordination with the Air Force was being done. AA defence was meant to be static and deployed 'en masse' to deter, if not, destroy the enemy, who was also expected to come in mass for bombing of targets. Barrage fire dictated deployment of batteries in layers and rings, providing a form of area defence.

In July 1940, AA and Coast Defence Wings were established at Karachi for training of Indian Officers. VCOs and NCOs in AA techniques. In Aug 1940, a momentous decision was taken by the War Office to create AA branch of Indian Artillery on the TA concept. On 14 September 1940, one Indian AA Technical Training Battery was raised at Colaba, Bombay. It included nucleus of the first AA units of Indian Artillery, the 'R' (Royal) HAA Regiment. The light AA unit called the 'U' LAA Regiment began raising in Jan 1941 at Malir Cantt (Now in Pakistan) with L/60 guns.

In April 1941 a new system of nomenclature was adopted and thus 'R' HAA became 1 Indian HAA Regiment IA and 'U' LAA became 1 Indian LAA Regiment IA. By 1942 two AA training centers (AATC) were raised. By this time there were eighteen AA regiments (9 HAA Regiments and 9 LAA Regiments), four HQ AA Brigades, two Independent LAA Batteries and one Independent HAA Battery. In the year 1944 there were a total of 33 AD Artillery units, however, immediately after the Second World War a large number of these units were disbanded.

During the Second World War, the heaviest concentration of AA Artillery in the British Army outside Britain, was in 'India Command'. The performance of the Indian LAA Regiments were awarded for their dedication and acts of valour in the face of the enemy. Three Indian LAA Regiments were awarded with Mention-in-Desptaches during their employment in East Bengal, Assam and Rangoon. A total of three MC, one MBE and seven IDSM were awarded to AA Artillery during the Second World War.

At the time of partition only two AD Artillery units viz 26 LAA and 27 LAA Regiments came to India while the oldest AA Establishment in India was I Training Battery along with which the nucleus of 'R' HAA Regiment was also raised, however, neither of the two survived into Independent India.

During 1962 Sino Indian War, a total of six AD Artillery units were employed in Assam/Bengal in AA as well as non AA role. AD gunners gave a very good account of themselves during the 1965 operations. Inspite of immense shortage of AD resources (which led to our field formations going into action witout adequate AD cover) the AD guns were very effective and contributed to the success of the campaign. After the first few days of the war, the will and determination of the PAF waned and more often than not, they turned tail at the first sign of the presence of AD Artillery. The Army AD units won several awards for gallantry. In all, four Vir Chakras, five Sena Medals, fourteen Mention-in-Despatches and four COAS commendation cards were awarded to AD Artillery during 1965 Indo-Pak War.

The L/60 guns were gradually replaced. By the late sixties, the necessity for AD protection to field formations had been realized and thinking on AD concepts crystallized. There were discussions on acquiring a mix of guns and missiles, with guns covering the dead zone of the missiles. A number of conversion courses were conducted at the AD Wing, School of Artillery, Deolali for selected Officers who were transferred from Field Branch to AD Branch. However, from 1970 onwards, officers were directly commissioned in the AD Branch of Artillery. After induction of L/70 guns, which required skilled personnel to man guns, radars and associated equipment it was decided to convert all the exiting TA units into regular AD units. Thus by 1975 all the TA AD units were converted into regular regiments.

AD Artillery had reached a new high during Indo-Pak war 1971. Four regiments had been conferred 'Honour Titles'. The awards won by the personnel are equally worthy of pride. AD gunners were awarded a total of thirteen Vir Chakras, one Shaurya Chakra, fifteen Sena Medals, one AVSM, three VSM and twenty six Mention-in-Despatches. Besides these were two COAS and three GOC-in-c Commendation Cards.

The post 1971 era will go down in history as an important era in modernizing and mechanization of AD Artillery. In 1972 the Tiger cat Msl System, in 1973, ZSU-23-4B Schilka and in 1976, ZU-23-2B guns were introduced during 1977 and OSA-AK system was introduced in 1985-86. Subsequently Igla and Strela-10M missiles were introduced during 1988-89.

The AD Artillery has actively participated in Operation in Operation Meghdoot, Operation Trident & Falcon, Operation Pawan and in 'No War No Peace' tasks. As on date a large number of AD guns are deployed in ground role on the LOC and are being manned by AD gunners. Besides this, several AD units have been engaged in various CI tasks in Jammu and Kashmir. Since 1984, personnel from over twenty AD units have had the opportunity to operate in the difficult and hazardous infested areas of the state. At any one time, four to five AD units remain deployed actively on the LOC, AGPL and various misc tasks in the CI grid, facing adverse climate and enemy fire and yet carrying on with their job with élan. Several awards have been received during these operations. This demonstrates the spirit and motivation of the AD troops in this unusual role.

One of the defining periods in the Corps history was from 1987 to 1990 when several events took place which totally changed the face of AD Artillery. The move of AD Wing from School of Artillery and establishment of Air Defence Guided Missile School (now rechristened Army Air Defence College) at Gopalpur Military Station in Orissa during Dec 1989. The case for bifurcation from the Regiment of Artillery was initiated. After protracted deliberations and dithering, it finally fructified in Oct 1993.

The Corps of AD Artillery' came into its own on 10 Jan 1994. The Directorate General of Air Defence Artillery started functioning from the same day. Likewise, AD Artillery branches at the various command HQs also took birth. ADGM School at Gopalpur started functioning as an autonomous entity, the AD Wing at Artillery Centre, Nasik Road Camp became the ADGM Centre.

The Corps of Air Defence Artillery has been re-designated as 'Corps of Army Air Defence'18 April 2005.

The motto of Army AD is "Aksshe Shatrun Jahi". The Army AD flag has two colors, sky blue on top and red at the bottom. Sky blue colour signifies the background against which the Army AD weapons have to operate. Red color symbolizes sacrifice and chivalry. The AD crest is placed in the center, which has been designed by NID, Ahmedabad. It has two radars emitting antennas facing out-wards and a surface to air missile in the center.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:41:26 ZULU