Thirty five Squadron, Rapiers, was raised on August 10, 1958 at Air Force Station, Pune under the command of Wg Cdr MB Naik. The squadron was equipped with the versatile Canberra bomber aircraft. The insignia of the squadron is Rapier, a double-edged sword. When wielded well by a warrior, it is an extremely lethal weapon. The motto of the squadron: Drutpraharnayudha meaning' Armed to Strike Fast', very aptly signifies the speed and lethality with which the adversary would be decimated. In 1978, the squadron moved to its present location at Air Force Station, Bareilly. In the year 1997, the Canberra aircraft of the squadron were moved out and presently the squadron is equipped with MiG-21 aircraft.
The Canberra aircraft was used for high altitude bombing and interdiction by day and night. Aircraft of this squadron also undertook high altitude weather research and reconnaissance missions.
In 1977, the squadron was specially selected to be re-equipped with Canberra and MiG-21M aircraft for the electronic warfare (EW) role. These aircraft are fitted with sophisticated equipment which effectively blind the enemy radars and surface-to-air guided weapons. The Rapiers, in any future conflict, would provide this vital EW support to our striking forces.
Since its inception, the squadron has taken part and distinguished itself as a formidable force in a number of operations. The squadron was first launched into operations during the Liberation of Goa wherein the Rapier bombers carried out extensive bombing of Portuguese held Dabolim airfield. Thereafter, the squadron took part in the Indo-Pak war of 1965 wherein it flew 69 operational missions in 10 days. As many as 11 different enemy targets were attacked and decimated with surgical precision. Sqn Ldr JP Gupta was Mentioned-in- Despatches during the operations.
The Indo-Pak war of 1971 provided the squadron with an opportunity to effectively display its operational potential. The squadron took part in day as well as night operations, both in the Western and Eastern sectors. A total of 92 operational sortie: amounting to 900 hours of flying were undertaken. The professionalism and dedication of personnel of this squadron ensured a sustained high rate of aircraft serviceability during the entire operations. The highlight of the 1971 operations was bombing attacks carried out by the squadron over the Oil Refinery Complex at Karachi. The results of these raids were so devastating that the Karachi Oil Complex was ablaze for nearly a week. Casualties are inevitable in such operations. The squadron lost FIt Lt SC Sandal and FIt Lt KS Nanda on December 5, 1971 during a bombing raid. The squadron personnel were decorated with a total of 23 awards during these operations. These included one Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, five Vir Chakra, six Vishisht Seva Medals, one Vayu Sena Medal and three Mentioned-in-Despatches.
During the operation Sated Sagar in Kargil, the squadron was deployed in Kashmir Valley as well as in Rann of Kutch to thwart any misadventure of the enemy.
During peace time, the squadron has distinguished itself by taking part in a number of air exercises including some joint service exercises. The squadron has repeatedly proved its effectiveness as a force multiplier in EW exercises. The squadron has been actively involved with Defence Research and Development Organisation for the evaluation of EW systems and armament devices. The squadron has also been instrumental in providing valuable flying effort towards the EW training of our own surface-to-air guided weapon units.
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