Helicopter Unit 115
No. 115 Helicopter Unit was formed at Chandigarh on 1 April 1967 and was equipped with MI-4 helicopters. The unit was earmarked for operations in Rajasthan sector with its location at then Air Force Flying College, Jodhpur.
By December 1967, the Unit had received its full complement of aircraft, aircrew and ground personal. The Unit then moved to its new location at AFFC, Jodhpur on 16 January 1968 and was declared fully operational.
The Unit, after two event full terms of duty in the Rajasthan Sector, moved to its present location, 11 Wing, AF on 8 September 1968.
Since its inception, the unit has been entrusted with a variety of roles: Casualty Evacuation; VVIP/VIP Flights; Communication Flights; Search and Rescue Mission; Aid to Civil Power; Aid to Civil Power; and Air Borne FAC Role.
On 15 September 1970, the Unit entered the jet age and was re-equipped with the Allouette III helicopters of French origin.
With war clouds hovering over the Eastern front, the unit was tasked with two detachments of one helicopter each at Teliamura in Tripura and Kumbhigram in Southern Assam. The unit took active part in the Bangladesh operations and acquitted itself commendable. Many racce mission were flown over enemy territory towards the overall operations in Bangladesh, then East Pakistan.
It was during one such recce mission over hostile territory around Bhairabi Bazar that a unit aircraft ran into intense small arms ground fire. Inspite of deft maneuvering and prompt evasive action taken, the aircraft was hit. The crew flew the aircraft to Indian territory and landed safely at Agartala.
A total of 212 sorties were flown in 11 days by the unit after the commencement of hostilities. The unit also maintained a detachment at Dhaka for six months after cessation of hostilities.
The primary role of the aircraft being rescue and life saving, the unit provides prompt aid to civil authorities in times of natural calamities and disasters not only in the entire North East but wherever required.
In the month of August 1975, the unit took active participation in flood relief operations in Bihar to provide much needed relief and succor to the marooned and homeless citizens. It was during these operations that the national media christened this unit as "The Hovering Angels" who came to the rescue of the people in Bihar.
Floods Struck again in October 1978. The unit maintained a three aircraft detachment at Calcutta. Thus commenced a major flood relief operation in which the tireless pilots of the unit flew from dawn to dusk for over two weeks. A total of 296 sorties utilizing 335 hrs in a mare 14 days were flown for the marooned people of West Bengal.
The unit has in similar ways to provided relief in places as far away as Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. Cyclone relief operations were carried out in May 1979 and the unit flew 23 hrs and dropped 4.5 tons of loads towards flood relief operation in Orissa in September 1980.
In January 1987, Arunachal Pradesh experienced some of the worst landslides because of incessant rains. The unit picked up 11 landslides victims from extremely inhospitable and inaccessible terrain at a short notice.
The unit bagged the best-categorised helicopter unit trophy for three years in a row in 1975, 1976 and 1977 and again in 1984. In October 1977, the unit flew 350 hrs in a month and bettered it in March 1982 when a total of 362 hrs were flown. For the first time, 100% serviceability was achieved in July 1980. And same has been repeated time and again. In 1996-97, the unit achieved 100% serviceability for 141 days straight.
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