Find a Security Clearance Job!

Military


Squadron 41
"Otters"

Squadron 41 apparently has two detachments located at Palam under Western Command and at Gauhiti under Eastern Command.

The Squadron crest is the aquatic Otter. The Otter on the Squadron Crest is indicative of all the qualities this unit possesses as a transport squadron. It signifies the single minded devotion to task in hand irrespective of the prevailling conditions ensuring that help reaches to those in need on time. The squadron motto is "Samay par Sahayta" meaning the ability to reach assistance in time.

Raised on 1 March 1958 at Jodhpur, this unit was equipped with SOTL DHC (Otter) aircraft and assigned a wide spectrum of tasks like logistics air support (LAS), communication duties, casevac, paradropping/ supply dropping and aerial photography. When the need arose aircraft from the unit were also converted into aerial gunships. During peace, it undertook communication duties and rendered valuable assistance to the civil government during natural calamities. The Squadron has played an active role during the liberation of Goa (1961), the Chinese aggression (1962), war with Pakistan (1965 and 1971) as well as during Naga insurgency.

A detachment of this unit, joined the Indian forces during Op Vijay (Liberation of Goa) in December 1961. Undertaking Op missions like supply dropping, leaflet dropping and as evac. During the Chinese aggression in 1962, the squadron flew 705 sorties into the trecherous narrow valleys of Arunanchal Pradesh (erstwhile NEFA). Otter aircraft flown by valient pilots of this unit became a virtual lifeline for the Indian Army in NEFA and were a common sight at the short grass strips. Another 201 hrs were flown while operating in the Nothern sector during the same period.

On 26 December 1961, the unit was tasked to undertake an emergency supply drop in the sugar sector in extremely bad weather. Realising the urgency of the mission and the prevailing hazardous conditions Squadron Ldr SK Trehan, the then CO, took the task personnally. Bad weather and inhospitable terrain could not stop a man who was determined to reac aid to the needy, but on the way back his aircraft got in bad weather and crashed. The CO died in crash. He has sacrificed himself at the alter of duty.

In July 1963, Pakistani forces stepped up firing on Indian forces along the border in the poonch area. Fling-in much needed supplies to our hard pressed troops the aircraft came under enemy fire. It was the exceptional skill of the pilot that prevented a certain disaster and a crippled aircraft landed at Poonch ALG. Although the aircraft was completely distroyed, occupants escaped unhurt.

During the conflict with Pakistan in 1965, the squadron flew a total of 614 Op missions in support of front-line troops. At the receiving end of Pakistani bombers, its squadron headquarters was virtually wiped out during one of the enemy raids but the aircraft were untouched as, with foresight, the aircraft were well dispersed. The squadon continued flying undaunted by the brief setback. Naga insurgency in Northeast Indian saw the Otter aircraft being modified and fitted with rocket pods and cabin mounted machine guns. This transformed "mini gunship" escorted Mi-4 helicopters operating in Nagaland, undertaking a task the Otter was never designed for. Pakistan attacked India on 3 December 1971. During the ensuing 14 days war, the squadron flew 162 op commitments both by day and night. Flying under adverse conditions, the squadron undertook the task casualties evacuation, carring SDS mail, flying courier sorties for photo recce, air lifting missiles and aircraft spares in additions to routine communication duties.

With the phasing out of the Otters in 1984, the squadron became the first unit to induct, Dornier aircraft into the IAF inventory. Avro aircraft joined the squadron in 1996, making it only IAF unit to have both light and medium transport aircraft on its strength.

Since inception the unit undertook communication duties and today it is routinely called upon to fly ministers of central and state governments, senior officers of the three services, civillian officers, and many foreign delegations visiting India. It has rendered valuable assistance to civil authorities during natural calamities, airlifiting relief supplies as well as during the flood in Surat (1959) and Rameshwaram (1964), the earthquake victims of Garhwal hills (1991). Participating in various air displays since March 1960, not withstanding changes in the format of air displays and changesin aircraft type, the squadron is a near permanent participant in flypasts for Air Force Day and Republic Day parades.




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list