Western Air Command, Indian Air Force
WAC Crest.jpg
FoundedJuly 22, 1949
CountryIndia
BranchIndian Air Force
TypeOperational Air Command
RoleAir Defence, OCA, Offensive Ground Support, Civilian Relief.
HeadquartersNew Delhi
Motto(s)Sanskrit: Akasha Pasmatsoma
Engagements1962 Sino-Indian War, 1971 India-Pakistan War, Operation Meghdoot
Commanders
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief(AOC-in-C)Air Marshal Sreekumar Prabhakaran, AVSM, VM[1]
Notable
commanders
Air Marshal MSD Wollen
Air Chief Marshal Anil Yashwant Tipnis
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha
Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne
Air Chief Marshal Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy

The Western Air Command (WAC) is the regional command of Indian Air Force headquartered in New Delhi. It is the largest and most important Air Command of the IAF, comprising sixteen Air Force Bases (AFBs), and is responsible for aerial defence of North India.

WAC's Area of Responsibility extends from Jammu and Kashmir to Rajasthan, also covering the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi and Western Uttar Pradesh.[2]

History

WAC was raised in 1947 as the No. 1 Operational Group which controlled all the flying units of Indian Air Force, including the flying training units. On July 22, 1949, the No. 1 Operational Group was re-designated as the Operational Command. In 1958, the rank of the Commanding Officer of Operational Command was upgraded from Air Commodore to Air Vice Marshal and later, to the rank of Air Marshal.

In the aftermath of the India-China War of 1962, the IAF began the process of demarcation of specific areas of responsibility, and splitting up of the flying Corps into various operational air commands. On June 10, 1963, Operational Command assumed its present name of Headquarters Western Air Command.

Due to its geographical location in the crucial North Indian region, surrounded by Pakistan to the west and China to the East, WAC has been involved in all major operations in India since independence, and has been the hub-centre of all operational activities during any operation.

The IAF Western Air Command is engaged in air logistics operations to supply troops deployed at Siachen Glacier. These operations are undertaken from the Siachen Forward Air Base, using Mi-17, HAL Dhruv and HAL Cheetah helicopters.

The Western Air Command has been the major operational command involved in most of the war fought by India, including the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Sino-Indian War in 1962, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, Operation Pawan (1986) in Sri Lanka and Operation Safed Sagar during the 1999 Kargil War.

Organization

Hindon AFS

Western Air Command is headquartered at Subroto Park, New Delhi. It is headed by an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, WAC, of the rank of Air Marshal. Under the C-in-C come the Senior Air Staff Officer, Senior Maintenance Staff Officer and Senior Officer in Charge of Administration, who are of the ranks of Air Vice Marshal or Air Marshal. They handle the day-to-day activities of the Command and act as the liaison between the various Wings.

WAC also has a forward headquarters located at Chandigarh near the Army's Western Command. There is an Air Operations Group, formed in 1982, located at Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir, which is principally tasked with the defence of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.[2]

No. 224 Squadron, Indian Air Force was raised in July 1983 at Adampur and operated with WAC until its disbandment in 2007. Squadrons include:

Western Air Command (India) is located in India
Adampur
Adampur
Ambala
Ambala
Amritsar
Amritsar
Awantipur
Awantipur
Bhatinda
Bhatinda
Chandigarh
Chandigarh
Halwara
Halwara
Hindon
Hindon
Leh
Leh
Palam, Delhi
Palam, Delhi
Pathankot
Pathankot
Sarsawa
Sarsawa
Siachen
Siachen
Sirsa
Sirsa
Srinagar
Srinagar
Udhampur
Udhampur
Location of WAC Air Bases
Squadron Base Equipment Notes
No. 41 Squadron IAF Palam Air Force Station Avro 748 & Do-228M No. 3 Wing
No. 3 Squadron IAF Pathankot Air Force Station MiG-21 Bison No. 7 Wing
No. 125 Helicopter Squadron IAF Pathankot Air Force Station Boeing Apache
No. 5 Squadron IAF Ambala Air Force Station Jaguar IS No. 7 Wing
No. 14 Squadron IAF Ambala Air Force Station Jaguar IS No. 7 Wing
No. 17 Squadron IAF Ambala Air Force Station Dassault Rafale No. 7 Wing
No. 47 Squadron IAF Adampur Air Force Station Mig-29 No. 8 Wing
No. 223 Squadron IAF Adampur Air Force Station Mig-29 No. 8 Wing
No. 220 Squadron IAF Halwara Air Force Station Su-30 MKI No.9 Wing
No. 221 Squadron IAF Halwara Air Force Station Su-30 MKI No.9 Wing
No. 25 Squadron IAF Chandigarh Air Force Station Il-76/AN-32 No. 12 Wing
No. 48 Squadron IAF Chandigarh Air Force Station AN-32 No. 12 Wing
No. 126 Helicopter Flight, IAF Chandigarh Air Force Station Mi-26/Chinook No. 12 Wing
No. 114 Helicopter Unit, IAF Leh Air Force Station HAL Cheetah No. 23 Wing IAF
No. 130 Helicopter Unit, IAF Leh Air Force Station Mi-17 No. 23 Wing IAF
No. 129 Helicopter Unit, IAF Hindon Air Force Station Mi-17 No. 28 Wing
No. 131 Helicopter Flight, IAF Hindon Air Force Station HAL Cheetah No. 28 Wing
No. 181 Helicopter Flight, IAF Hindon Air Force Station Avro 748M No. 28 Wing
No. 117 Helicopter Unit, IAF Sarsawa Air Force Station HAL Dhruv No. 30 Wing
No. 152 Helicopter Unit, IAF Sarsawa Air Force Station Mi-17 No. 30 Wing
No. 132 Helicopter Flight, IAF Udhampur Air Force Station HAL Cheetah No. 39 Wing
No. 153 Helicopter Unit, IAF Udhampur Air Force Station Mi-17 No. 39 Wing
No. 21 Squadron IAF Sirsa Air Force Station Su-30MKI[3] No. 45 Wing
No. 51 Squadron IAF Srinagar Air Force Station Mig 21 Bison

Air Bases

See also: List of Indian Air Force Bases

WAC has been assigned 10 permanent Air Force Stations (AFS)and 6 Forward Base Support Units (FBSUs), including the strategic Forward Air Base at Siachen. Along with these, WAC also has over 200 operational bases, Advance Landing Grounds (ALGs), and Operational centres placed under its command.

The Air Force Stations/Wings under WAC control are:[4]

Forward Base Support Units (FBSU)

Base ICAO Runway Elevation Coordinates State/Territory
Amritsar AFS VIAR 16/34 755 ft / 230 m 31°42′27.95″N 74°47′57.25″E / 31.7077639°N 74.7992361°E / 31.7077639; 74.7992361 (Amritsar AFS) Punjab
Bathinda AFS VIBT 13/31 700 ft /213 m 30°16′12.50″N 74°45′20.78″E / 30.2701389°N 74.7557722°E / 30.2701389; 74.7557722 (Bhatinda AFS) Punjab
Sarsawa AFS VISP 09/27 891 ft / 272 m 29°59′39.53″N 77°25′27.25″E / 29.9943139°N 77.4242361°E / 29.9943139; 77.4242361 (Sarsawa AFS) Uttar Pradesh
Siachen Glacier AFS 22,000 ft / 6,706 m 35°30′N 77°00′E / 35.5°N 77.0°E / 35.5; 77.0 (Siachen Glacier AFS) Ladakh
Sirsa AFS VISA 05/23 650 ft / 198 m 29°33′38.09″N 75°00′21.87″E / 29.5605806°N 75.0060750°E / 29.5605806; 75.0060750 (Sirsa AFS) Haryana
Udhampur AFS VIUX 18/36 1,950 ft / 594 m 32°54′08.06″N 75°09′18.54″E / 32.9022389°N 75.1551500°E / 32.9022389; 75.1551500 (Udhampur AFS) Jammu & Kashmir

List of Commanders

Rank Name Assumed office Left office
Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Operational Group
Air Commodore Mehar Singh 22 December 1947[5] 27 September 1948
Aspy Engineer 27 September 1948[5] 21 July 1949
Air Officer Commanding Operational Command
Air Commodore Aspy Engineer 22 July 1949[6] 11 December 1950
Arjan Singh 12 December 1950[6] 11 December 1952
Atma Ram Nanda 12 December 1952[6] 7 December 1955
Arjan Singh 8 December 1955[6] 30 April 1958
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Operational Command
Air Vice Marshal Arjan Singh 1 May 1958[6] 17 November 1959
Erlic Wilmot Pinto 17 November 1959[6] 9 June 1963
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Air Command
Air Vice Marshal Erlic Wilmot Pinto 10 January 1963[7] 22 November 1963
Pratap Chandra Lal 24 November 1963[7] 30 September 1964
Ramaswamy Rajaram 1 October 1964[7] 4 March 1966
Shivdev Singh 5 March 1966[7] 29 February 1968
Air Marshal 1 March 1969[7] 31 July 1969
Minoo Merwan Engineer 6 August 1969[7] 31 March 1973
Hrushikesh Moolgavkar 1 April 1973[7] 31 January 1976
Edul Jahangir Dhatigara 1 February 1976[7] 3 September 1978
Dilbagh Singh 1 October 1978[7] 31 December 1980
Lakshman Madhav Katre 5 January 1981[7] 28 February 1983
Malcolm Shirley Dundas Wollen 1 March 1983[7] 30 September 1981
Denis Anthony Lafontaine 1 November 1981[7] 2 July 1985
Man Mohan Singh 22 July 1985[7] 31 July 1988
Prithi Singh 1 August 1988[7] 30 April 1992
Swaroop Krishna Kaul 1 May 1992[7] 31 July 1993
Pratap Rao 3 September 1993[7] 5 July 1994
Satish Kumar Sareen 6 July 1994[7] 31 July 1995
Anil Yashwant Tipnis 1 August 1995[7] 31 March 1997
Vinod Patney 1 April 1997[7] 31 October 1999
Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy 11 January 1999[7] 1 July 2001
Vinod Kumar Bhatia 1 August 2001[7] 28 April 2002
Adi Rustomji Ghandhi 29 April 2002[7] 16 November 2003
Shashindra Pal Tyagi 16 November 2003[7] 31 December 2004
Avdesh Kumar Singh 1 January 2005[7] 31 January 2007
Padamjit Singh Ahluwalia 1 February 2007[7] 31 December 2007
Pranab Kumar Barbora 1 January 2008[7] 31 May 2009
Norman Anil Kumar Browne 1 January 2009[7] 31 December 2010
Dinesh Chandra Kumaria 1 January 2011[7] 31 May 2012
Arup Raha 1 June 2012[7] 30 June 2013
Suneet Shripad Soman 1 July 2013[7] 31 August 2015
Shirish Baban Deo 1 September 2015[7] 31 December 2016
Chandrashekharan Hari Kumar 1 January 2017[7] 28 February 2019
Raghunath Nambiar 1 March 2019[7] 31 October 2019
Balakrishnan Suresh 1 November 2019[7] 31 July 2020
Vivek Ram Chaudhari 1 August 2020[7] 30 June 2021
Balabhadra Radha Krishna 1 July 2021[7] 30 September 2021
Amit Dev 1 October 2021[7] 28 February 2022
Sreekumar Prabhakaran 1 March 2022[7] Present[8]

References

  1. ^ "AIR MARSHAL S PRABHAKARAN ASSUMES COMMAND OF IAF'S WESTERN AIR COMMAND" (Press release). PIB. 2022-03-01.
  2. ^ a b WAC at Globalsecurity.org
  3. ^ "AFS Sirsa Su -30MKI for Reference".
  4. ^ "IAF Commands". Defenceindia.com. Archived from the original on 13 April 2009.
  5. ^ a b "No 1 Operational Group (WAC), Indian Air Force - Database". Bharat Rakshak.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Operational Command, Indian Air Force - Database". Bharat Rakshak.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al "Western Air Command - BRF". Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Air Marshal S Prabhakaran to take over as new Western Air Commander". ANI. 2022-02-25.