NEW DELHI: Indian Air Force has resurrected its old 17 squadron on Tuesday which is going to be equipped with India’s most modern fighters, the Rafale multi-role fighters. Air Chief presented the squadron insignia to the Commanding Officer (Designate).
“(A) Resurrection ceremony for 17 Squadron, AF was held at Air Force Station Ambala. Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, Chief of the Air Staff presented a memento to Group Captain Harkirat Singh SC to commemorate the occasion.” said the Air Force in its communiqué.
In the near future, 17 Squadron will be the first Squadron to be equipped with the State of the art Rafale aircraft, which is an extremely capable, fourth generation, multirole aircraft with advanced weapons, added the Air Force.
The current Air Chief was the Commanding Officer when 17 Squadron (Golden Arrows) participated actively in Operation ‘Safed Sagar’ in 1999. The squadron was disbanded in 2016 in the process of the IAF phasing out of Russian-origin Mig 21 jets which the Squadron had which then operated from Bhatinda airbase.
The 17 Squadron was formed at Ambala on 01st Oct 1951 under the command of Flight Lieutenant DL Springett and was then equipped with Harvard-II B aircraft. By Nov 1955, Squadron converted fully to De Havilland Vampire and by 1957, Hawker Hunter aircraft were flown by the ‘Golden Arrows’. The Squadron converted to the Mig-21 M in 1975.
The Squadron actively participated in the Goa Liberation Campaign in Dec 1961 and in 1965 operations as a reserve force. Under the command of Wing Commander N Chatrath, 17 Squadron took part in the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and flew close air support, counter-air and fighter recce missions, getting numerous gallantry awards.
The exceptional service of the squadron was recognised by the country and the then President of India, Shri R Venkataraman presented it with the ‘Colours’ on Nov 1988.