Number 101 Squadron of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is all set to be revived at the Hasimara Air Force Station in West Bengal this month. Nearly a decade after it was number-plated, the Falcons will be resurrected with a new batch of four Rafale fighters, which will arrive later this month.
The squadron, formed at the Palam Air Force Station in Delhi in 1949 for the role of photo reconnaissance, was equipped with Harvards and Spitfires.
In 1957, the squadron received British-origin Vampire aircraft, was shifted to the Adampur Air Force Station in the Kashmir Valley. A decade later, in July 1968, it entered the supersonic ear with Su-7s bought from the Soviet Union.
Still based at Adampur in 1971, the 101 Squadron of the IAF participated in operations in the 1971 war in the western sector, flying ground attack and air support missions. The Su-7 fighters of the squadron flew 210 sorties during the war, hitting Pakistani airfields, ammunition dumps and supply trains.
The squadron played a critical role in the defence of the Chhamb-Akhnoor sector, where Pakistan had launched an all-out armour-and-infantry assault to cut off the Indian Army’s access to Kashmir.
Flying from the Adampur Air Base, Sukhoi Su-7 fighters bombed and strafed heavy concentrations of Pakistani troops and armour in Chhamb.