Ministry of Defence09-November, 2009 11:39 IST
IAF combat units - TACDE and 47 squadron, AF to be conferred President’s Standard at Gwalior
In recognition of the distinguished service rendered to the nation, the President of India and Supreme Commander of the Armed

In recognition of the distinguished service rendered to the nation, the President of India and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil will on Tuesday, Nov 10, present the Presidential Standards to two premiere combat units of the IAF, at Air Force Station, Gwalior.

TACDE (Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment) - a hallowed portal where IAF’s finest and sharpest air warriors train - forever to lead, to fight and to win; and No. 47 Squadron - christened ‘Black Archers’ of the IAF, a premiere Mig-29 fighter squadron based at Adampur, Punjab will be conferred the coveted military honour.

Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE)

Previously, Tactics and Combat Development and Training Squadron (T&CD&TS) when it first formed at Adampur, Punjab on Feb 1, 1971 the squadron was tasked to study and evolve tactical procedures for various aircraft, implementation of standard operating procedures and training of pilots in operational doctrines and tactics.

The establishment also conducted seminars for senior officers of the IAF who were to be involved in tactical planning of air operations. T&CD&TS got re-designated as TACDE in Dec 72, an acronym that now remains the cherished destination for all combat pilots, fighter controllers and operators of guided weapons and platforms.

TACDE has the onerous task of sharpening the cutting edge of the Air Force. The trainees here undergo a comprehensive and rigorous course of training that caters for the Fighter, Transport, Helicopter, Fighter Controller and guided weapons streams thus encompassing the entire spectrum of operations.

At this premier Institution, the instructors are all the pick of the Air Force, chosen especially for their outstanding professional skills. They are chosen for their ability to impart combat training in the air and on the ground. They are drawn from different types of fighter and helicopter aircraft and from the best of the radar controllers. And it is because of efforts of the alumni of this establishment that TACDE is a revered name in the Air Force.

TACDE illustrious list of alumni begins with the present Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, three former Air Chiefs - ACMs SK Mehra, AY Tipnis, S Krishnaswamy, 29 Air Marshals several of whom have served in the appointments of Vice-Chief, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) or are among those still serving in such coveted posts.


In its very first year, the squadron under the Command of Wing Commander AK Mukherjee, saw action in the Indo-Pak conflict of 1971. Pilots from the squadron launched counter-air missions by day and night, interdiction and close-air support missions. The squadron was decorated with one Vir Chakra (VrC), 13 Mention-in-Despatches (M-in-D), one Vayu Sena Medal (VM) and four commendations by AOC-in-C during the war. TACDE was also awarded ‘Battle Honours’ by the President of India in 1995 for its role in the Indo-Pak conflict of 1971.

With all-round excellence their trademark, it is hardly surprising that the list of honours and awards at TACDE seems almost endless. Apart from the honours for acts of bravery in the ’71 war, the list also includes a Kirti Chakra (KC), four Ati Vishisht Seva Medals (AVSM), five Vishisht Seva Medals (VSM), 14 Vayu Sena Medals (VM), 45 CAS and 63 AOC-in-C commendations, till date.

Black Archers (No. 47 Squadron, AF)

Nearly fifty years ago, on Dec 18, 1959, an amalgamation of the best officers and men, hand-picked from various units of the IAF saw the formation of a new combat squadron – No. 47 Squadron (Black Archers), under the Command of Squadron Leader DA La Fontaine, who later rose to be the Chief of the Air Staff.

Now into its golden jubilee year, the squadron that adopted a kneeling Black Archer as its insignia has remained steadfast and unwavering with its archetypal bow stretched, ever-ready to accomplish any task with utmost efficiency.

The squadron took part in both the Indo-Pak conflicts since its formation. During the 1965 war, the squadron showed its mettle in the eastern sector. Pilots from the Black Archers squadron led the operation for the air defence of Tezpur and Gauhati (now Guwahati) with Toofani aircraft. Soon after the war, the squadron changed over to the new Mig-21 FL supersonic jets.

The squadron was an effective force in breaking the morale of the enemy in northern and western sector during 1971 war. The Archer Leader, Wing Commander HS Gill, led from front and undertook daring missions deep into the enemy heartland.

On Dec 13, 1971 during one such daring mission, he made the supreme sacrifice for which he was awarded a VrC posthumously. The Black Archers honours and awards list includes two VrC, one VSM and four M-in-Ds.

In 1986, the Black Archers were the first to operate the latest state-of-the-art technology aircraft, the Mig-29, when IAF first inducted them. The squadron took part in the air operations during the Kargil war and was actively deployed during Op Parakram.

The squadron is presently located at Adampur and is commanded by Wing Commander Vikas Sharma. The year 2009 is a landmark year for the Black Archers as they complete 50 years of meritorious service to the nation on Dec 18, this year.


TK Singha/-


(Release ID :53944)