Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots would be playing a crucial role in India’s first manned space flight mission, Gaganyaan which is likely to be launched in 2022. Bengaluru-based IAF’s Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) has started the process of finalising the crew. On the occasion of 75th Raising Day of the Artificial Limb Centre (ALC) of the Indian Army Director General Armed Forces Medical Service Lieutenant General Bipin Puri said that said that two or three IAF fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) would be the main astronauts of the Gaganyaan.
On the sidelines of the event, Lt Gen Puri told The Times of India, “We have got big groups of pilots, of whom the best two or three would be selected for the mission.” Various meetings between the he India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the IAM. Meanwhile, in February this year, reports surfaced that the IAF was asked to train pilots for the mission. ISRO Launches Satellite GSAT-7A to Enhance Communication Capabilities of Indian Air Force.
The IAM is affiliated to the Armed Forces Medical Services and is the only institute in India and South East Asia that conducts research in aerospace medicine. Meanwhile, on January 30, 2019, the ISRO had inaugurated the Human Space Flight Centre at the agency headquarters in Bengaluru. This headquarter will be responsible for the implementation of the Gaganyaan project. IAF Gets First Apache Helicopter During Ceremony Held at Boeing’s Production Facility in United States’ Arizona; Watch Video.
The ‘Gaganyaan’ mission, proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 during an Independence Day speech. If this mission is completed successfully, India will become the fourth nation to launch its manned space aircraft. In its maiden crewed mission, ISRO’s largely autonomous 3.7-tonne capsule will orbit the Earth at 400 km altitude for up to seven days with a three-person crew on board. The crewed vehicle is planned to be launched on ISRO’s GSLV Mk III.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday recommended Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman for the Vir Chakra, the third highest wartime gallantry award after the Paramvir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra. The IAF officer has been recommended for the gallantry award for shooting down Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet on February 27, after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) warplanes violated the Indian airspace. Pakistan Air Force Pilot Shahzaz Ud Din Whose F-16 Was Shot Down by Wg Cd Abhinandan Varthaman Mistaken to be Indian; Lynched by PoK Locals?.
Along with Wing Commander Varthaman, the IAF also recommended 12 fighter pilots of Mirage-2000 aircraft for the Vayu Sena Medal for successfully carrying out air strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed headquarters in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26. Meanwhile, reports surfaced earlier in the day that Wg Cdr Varthaman is likely to resume duty and will fly fighter planes again. IAF Air Strikes in Pakistan: ‘We Don’t Count the Dead, Says Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa After BJP Chief Amit Shah Claims Over 250 JeM Terrorists Killed in Balakot.
According to reports, there are high chances of the IAF officer returning to a fighter cockpit soon but only after the final clearance by the Bengaluru-based Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM). However, The IAF transferred the officer out of the Srinagar airbase amid concerns over his security in Kashmir valley. The IAF officer has been posted to an important airbase in the Western sector. Lockheed Martin Busts Pakistan’s Lie; American Aircraft Manufacturer Not to Sue India For Claiming IAF’s MiG-21 Bison Shot Down PAF F-16 Fighter Jet.
Wg Cdr Varthaman was part of a team comprosing of six Mi-21 Bison pilots who took off from Srinagar, along with Su-30 MKIs, Mig-29s and Mirage-2000s from other air force stations in response to Pakistan’s airspace violation on February 27. According to reports, the dogfight lasted for about 15 minutes, during which the IAF pilot managed to “lock on” to PAF’s F-16 and then fired R-73 missile.
The PAF fighters dropped bombs at army formation camps in West of Rajouri in Sunderbani of Jammu and Kashmir. During the aerial combat, Wg Cdr Varthaman let loose the Vympel R-73 air-to-air missile at the Pakistan fighter jet, F-16, before he himself was hit. After ejecting from his MIg-21 Bison, his parachute drifted in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) where he was taken into custody by the Pakistani Army. Pakistan’s F-16 Which Violated Indian Air Space Shot Down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman with Mig-21 Bison; IAF Presents Cover of AMRAAM Missile As Evidence.
The IAF officer was released almost after 60 hours by Pakistan on March 1. After his return from Pakistan via the Attari-Wagah border, the IAF pilot underwent a series of medical tests at Army’s Research and Referral (R&R) hospital in Delhi.
(Picture Courtesy: Twitter/#IAF_MCC)