Indian Air Force Raising Combat Force To Guard Airbases
Hello Defence Lovers, The Indian Air Force has set up a training school to impart Army-like training to men and women who can as the first line of defence during any terrorist attacks. The Air Force is raising an army to cover all its bases. Seeking to foil any Pathankot-like attacks by Pakistani groups, the IAF is creating a combat force of its own men and women who are being trained in Punjab’s Bathinda district to tackle such terror strikes.
- Four Pakistani terrorists had laid siege to the Pathankot air force station in January last year.
- Half a dozen security personnel were killed before the attackers were neutralised by the National Security Guard in concert with the IAF’s Garud Commando Force but with little support from manpower at the base.
- Bathinda is home to the first security training school (STS) of the Air Force which is tasked to impart tough Army-like training to 225 officers and air warriors in each course so that they are able to handle all kinds of modern weapons and easily counter a group of terrorists trying to attack airbases.
- The Number One STS, which came into being in August last year, has, so far, trained close to 1,300 personnel including female officers who go back to their home bases after four weeks’ training and become part of the anti-terrorist quick reaction teams there.
- “We are training both officers and men together with no relaxations for anyone. Everybody is made to go through the gruelling training process which includes carrying out Army-like night patrols, route marches and ambushes so that we can kill and destroy the intruders or at least contain them effectively on our own,” STS commanding officer and chief instructor Wing Commander Manpreet Singh said.
- He said the trainees are 22-25 years old as only those people are being detailed for training who are young and have put in a few years in the service.
- IAF officials say the terrorist attack around New Year’s Eve over 15 months ago was a much-needed jolt for the force which was till then not focusing enough on the need for preparing its men for ground combat.
- “We had quick reaction teams earlier where 40-50 men once in six months would go for a course. But, now after Pathankot, our focus has totally changed. We now also have the second security school in Naliya, Gujarat for imparting QRT training to personnel who are swift and agile,” Pasricha said.
- Old-timers in the service say this is the first time that the Air Force has been so highly focussed about physical toughening of men and women.
- Instructors at the base say the female officers are also matching the performance of the men in these tough physical drills.
- “A bullet won’t discriminate between officers and airmen or men and women and that is why, there is no discrimination in training as well,” said Squadron Leader Mihir Mehta, an instructor at the base.