Rafale, Chinook take part in air show to celebrate diamond jubilee at Udhampur Air Force station

UDHAMPUR — The skies over Udhampur roared on Wednesday as fighter jets and combat helicopters of the IAF captivated the audience with their maneuvers during an air show to mark the diamond jubilee celebrations at the headquarters of Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

As part of the event, a fly-past began with skydiving by a team of Akashganga from AN32 followed by air maneuvers and different formations by Jaguar, MIG29, Su-30 and Rafale aircraft, officials said.

Combat helicopters like Apache, Mi-17 Slithering and Chinook also exhibited adrenaline-pumping maneuvers in the first-of-its-kind air show at the Udhampur Air Force Station.

Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, Air Marshal Sreekumar Prabhakaran lauded the role of headquarters AOC Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh for dominating the Himalayas over the past 60 years.

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, northern command, Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, Air Officer Commanding Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh Air Vice Marshal Praveen Keshav Vohra and other senior IAF, military and civil dignitaries also attended the show.

“As part of the diamond jubilee celebrations of headquarters AOC Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, the motive is dominating Himalayas and that is what they have been doing for the last 60 years. AOC J&K was established back in 1962 and they moved here to Udhampur in 1964,” Prabhakaran said.

He said the headquarters AOC has worked as a link between the IAF’s Delhi-based western command and the northern command of the Army.

“And thanks to the headquarters AOC, the northern command of the army and western command based in Delhi, we work very closely and it is this headquarters which has helped in coordinating all activities between the Army and Air Force,” the IAF western commander said.

He said they have also been actively involved in all the air maintenance.

“We execute, especially in the northern sector that is J&K sector, Siachen Glacier. In the winter months when the roads are blocked, our brave soldiers up at the front depend on the air maintenance,” he said.

Prabhakaran said the headquarters AOC has build good liaison with the Army and the soldiers on the frontline are looked after well and all their needs, whether related to rations or ammunition, especially during the winter months are fulfilled.

“And not just coordination with the Army, headquarters AOC also maintains very close liaison with our civilian counterparts, whether it is the earthquake which happened in J&K earlier, floods in Srinagar and the issue which we recently had at Amarnath cave.

“In all these activities, thanks to the close liaison and coordination between civil authorities and IAF through headquarters AOC, we have been able to save many lives and we are happy that during times of peace, IAF has come for the benefit of fellow countrymen,” he said.

He said the headquarters has always lived up to its high values and traditions.

“It has been actively involved in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars, in the Kargil conflict and of course, it really came into prominence during the eastern Ladakh standoff which is in some way still continuing,” he said.

Extending good wishes to the AOC J&K and his team, he said, “We will do even better in the times to come.” — (PTI)