The Indian Air Force formally inducted Rafale aircraft into No. 101 Squadron at Air Force Station Hasimara in Eastern Air Command (EAC) on 28 Jul 21. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria PVSM AVSM VM ADC, Chief of the Air Staff presided over the induction ceremony. On arrival, CAS was received by Air Marshal Amit Dev AVSM VSM, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command. The event also included a fly-past heralding the arrival of Rafale aircraft to Hasimara followed by a traditional water cannon salute.
Addressing the personnel during the induction ceremony, CAS said that the induction of Rafale had been carefully planned at Hasimara; keeping in mind the importance of strengthening IAF's capability in the Eastern Sector. Recalling the glorious history of 101 Squadron which bestowed upon them the title of 'Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor', CAS urged the personnel to combine their zeal and commitment with the unmatched potential of the newly inducted platform. He said that he had no doubt that the Squadron would dominate whenever and wherever required and ensure that the adversary would always be intimidated by their sheer presence.
101 Squadron is the second IAF Squadron to be equipped with Rafale aircraft. The Squadron was formed on 01 May 1949 at Palam and has operated Harvard, Spitfire, Vampire, Su-7 and MiG-21M aircraft in the past. The glorious history of this Squadron includes active participation in 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.
A Falcon is a diurnal bird of prey with a short hooked beak and powerful claws. From very early times Falcons have been specially trained for the pursuit of other birds, or game. The bird is a fast, strong flier and usually hunts from several hundred feet up in the air, sweeping down at tremendous speeds upon its prey. This is one of the most thrilling sights in nature. The Falcon is a clean killer. It strikes once, usually breaking its prey's back or crippling it so that it falls helplessly onto the earth.
101 Squadron, AF was formed with the specific role of photo reconnaissance in mind. Its motto is 'Search and Destroy'. Enjoying the place of pride in the Squadron crest is a trained hunting Falcon. The bird's keen eyesight, quick and sure kill ability symbolizes the role for which the Squadron was formed and trained, which it has executed with outstanding distinction and valour as is obvious from the history of "Falcons".
101 Squadron of the IAF, popularly known as the 'FALCONS OF CHHAMB' was created as a photo reconnaissance flight at Palam on 1 May 1949. Four Harvards, two Spitfires, eight pilots and fifty five airmen formed the nucleus of the Squadron. The newly formed Squadron was quick to gain recognition. In 1950, the Squadron was awarded a silver trophy for excellence in aircraft maintenance by the Chief of the Air Staff.
In 1957, the Squadron converted to Vampire aircraft and shifted its base to Adampur. Whilst the Squadron retained its basic role of photo recce, ground attach training also started and the Squadron was operational in both FR and GA roles within a very short period.
In the wake of the Chinese aggression in 1962, the Squadron was asked to stand by to counter any threat from the North. Despite unfavourable weather and living conditions, extensive photo recce activity was carried out over NEFA and NMTA sectors.
The Squadron graduated to supersonic era with SU-7 ac in Junr 1968. It was the 1971 war, which brought laurels to the Squadron. The Squadron became the most highly decorated Squadron in the IAF to datewinning one MVC, eight Vr Cs, six M-in-Ds, 14 commendations, one AVSM, two VMs and two VSMs. The history of the Falcons would remain incomplete without a special mention of their role in the Chhamb sector during the 1971 conflict. Seventy five percent of the sorties were flown in this sector, neutralising enemy armour, gun positions and troop concentrations. In the years that followed the conflict, the Squadron has other examples of its outstanding capabilities and professional competence. It won the WAC Forward Air Controllers competition in 1972 and WAC Flight Safety Trophy in 1973. In July 1974 the war-weary Sukhoi-7 ac was replaced by MiG-21M (Type-96) aircraft.
In July 1976, the Squadron was selected to receive the President's colours on 19 November 1976.
During the years that followed, the Squadron continued to perform FR & GA roles with equal efficiency. The Squadron shifted to AF Base Sirsa on 10 May 1981. From July 1992 to July 1994 the Squadron was entrusted with the task of operational flying training of newly commissioned officers. In July 1994, the Squadron reverted to Operational role.
The present operational role of the Squadron is Ground Attack.
As of early 2002, Squadron 101 appeared to have relocated to Adampur Airbase.
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