NEW DELHI: Border Security Force (BSF) battling insurgency and infiltration at the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh border will have more air power to support the troops on the ground. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Friday discussed the proposal of expanding BSF air wing with the border guarding force chief D K Pathak.
It is learnt that Pathak has submitted a proposal to add more choppers and new aircrafts in its existing fleet for the approval of Home Ministry.
In the wake of recent ceasefire violations, government has realised that the BSF needs to be provided with dedicated air support to transport ammunitions and personnel as its operational responsibility is spread over 6386 KMs of border with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“We have discussed the matter and air wing expansion will be executed soon,” Pathak said adding that no decision has been taken to raise additional battalion of the force.
Raised in 1965, the force has grown in size and currently has 175 battalions. However, BSF Air Wing was first launched in 1969 with a single Queen Air C-80 aircraft. BSF air wing has its bases at New Delhi, Raipur, Ranchi, Agartala and Srinagar. However, its fixed wing operates only from Delhi.
The air wing of BSF consists of Embraer-135 J, Avro -HS-748 and Super King B-200 aircraft in fixed wing and ALH (Dhruv), Cheetah and Mi-17 1V in rotary wing. One of its BSF Dhruv (ALH) helicopters crashed over hilly terrain in Ranchi on October 19, 2011, killing all the three crew on board.
With ever increasing role of air support, BSF is adding new aircraft in its fleet with MTA and Mi-17 V5 acquisition already in process.