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IAF’s 51 Squadron that Abhinandan was part of to be number-plated after 38-year career | India News

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An illustrious 51 Squadron of the Indian Airforce (IAF), primarily assigned the role of the Air Defence of the Kashmir valley got number-plated on Sept 30

Indian Army

Image: ANI

The illustrious 51 Squadron of the Indian Airforce (IAF), primarily assigned the role of the Air Defence of the Kashmir valley has been number plated on September 30. The Squadron has stopped its flying operations since June 30. The practice of number plating a Squadron involves phasing out or redistribution of the assets of the unit and re-posting all the personnel, reducing the Squadron to just a number on paper. However, the unit may be resurrected later on with a different set of manpower, assets, role, etc. 


The 51 Squadron earned a major achievement when in February 2019, Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman was conferred with the Veer Chakra for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 during a dogfight at the Line of Control (LoC). 


During its 38 years of history, the 51 Squadron has had a proud history. During Operation Parakram, the unit was tasked with the air defence of the Kashmir valley. After a long and meritorious career in the valley, the Squadron (also known as Sword Arms) will be notable for once being the ‘Guardians of the valley’, a title it earned for its unique role as the only fighter Squadron in the Kashmir valley.


Won the Vayu sena medal during Kargil war


The Sword Arms participated in Operation Safed Sagar (Kargil campaign) in 1999 and were conferred with the Vayu Sena medal and three mentions-in dispatches for their contributions during the operations, in which the Squadron flew 194 sorties contributing to the air defence for the strike fleet. 


The Squadron had also carried out offensive missions at point 5140 and Tololing in the first two days of the operation, with rockets and subsequently reverted to its primary role of air defence. 


Operation Brasstacks in 1987


As part of its contribution during Operation Brasstacks in 1987, Sword Arms conducted intensive valley flying and manned operational readiness platforms from both Srinagar and Awantipur over a three-month period.   

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