Indian Air Force  Trivia Page


When Israeli Fighters met Indian Jets


Ever heard about Israeli Fighters being Scrambled to Intercept Indian Jet Fighters? This occurred in the 1960 when Four   Indian Navy Sea Hawk Fighters were being flown from U K  to  India. somewhere over the Med as the fighters were approaching  Israel, They were intercepted by the Israelis who thought that the fighters were hostile. Fortunately the identity was clarified and  no untoward incident occurred.

One of the Sea hawks later suffered a burst tyre landing at Beirut, and the entire flight enjoyed a months. holiday at Beirut awaiting the arrival of a spare tyre.


What? shot down by a Lance corporal!


This is a true incident of the 1971 War, so pukka , no one can refute it. During the War, Major General Zora Bakshi's  Division took up the task of taking the Chickens neck salient, (earlier known as the dagger salient). One of the advancing   battalion being the 7th Bn, 11 Gorkha rifles regiment. So on 10th December, the advancing column of  7/11GR has reached an area called Pul Bajaun, when the PAF put in an appearance. MiG-19's came over and strafed the positions of Indian Troops. one of the Gorkha Riflemen, Lance Naik Dhan  Bahadur Rai, replied back with his 7.62mm Light Machine Gun. It was an act of defiance, and incredibly,  the spectators on the ground saw the MiG-19 burst into flames as bullets found their mark. The PAF pilot Flt Lt   Wajid Ali Khan ejected and was picked up by the Gorkha troops . Wajid Ali became a POW for the rest of the war. One of the rare occasion where a jet was bought down by Small Arms Fire.

Lance Naik Dhan Bahadur Rai later recieved a well deserved Vir Chakra.


What to do when your aircraft sinks into the ocean


Another Story on the sea hawk concerns Lt Cdr P A Debrass, a naval fighter pilot who served aboard INS Vikrant, and later commanded the carrier. It was May 76, Debrass was about to be catapulted from the carrier, when during the launch the catapult failed to pick the aircraft's launch hook and The Sea Hawk took off on its own power and rolled off the forward deck into the water and promptly sank. leaving no time for Debrass to come out of the cockpit.

Debrass maintained his cool, the aircraft sank into the water, but he was still in the cockpit,  he gave himself  some time and pulled the ejection lever, the seat pulled him out of the aircraft through the water and  to the surface, where he found that he had surfaced astern off  the carrier which had passed over the aircraft. he was picked up by the SAR Helicopter. This was a Unique underwater test of the ejection seat.


Uncle Sam gets the "Finger"


Picture Indian Air Force fighters attacking and destroying an Aircraft belonging to the United States Air Force. Imagine what kind of international repercussions it will raise, unless of course the aircraft was already in the war  zone. Brig Gen Chuck Yeager who was an advisor to the PAF during the 1971 war, recalls in his autobiography, about how the" Indians gave Uncle Sam the Finger". his Beech queen Air aircraft was parked at Rawalpindi, and it was the second day of the war. Yeager was thinking about to moving his plane outside the range of Indian Fighters, when the air raid alarms sounded. Two Indian fighter bombers(probably Hunters) had attacked the airfield and totaled yeagers Aircraft, which was reduced to ashes. Yeager flew for the rest of his tenure using PAF aircraft.


...and the Canadians too!!


Not only the USAAF but also the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) suffered at the hands of the Indian Air Force.The Canadians had contributed a contingent to the UNMOGIP, The UN observer group in Kashmir, and they also deputed one of their RCAF Twin Otter aircraft for the UNMOGIP operations. This Twin Otter S.No. 13808 found itself the target for the No.20 Sqn's Hunters which destroyed the aircraft at Chaklala on the second day of the war.

It was not the first time the Canadians  got stuck in the Indo Pak conflict. earlier in the 1965 War, one of their Caribou parked in Srinagar was destroyed by PAF Sabres.

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An early spitfire in chakra markings. (pic courtesy:


Sorry , We are short of Maps!!                              


In 1947 During the Kashmir confrontation, Brig L P Sen recalls the battle of Badgam, Where Maj Somnath Sharma received the first Param vir Chakra of the Indian Army. The battle was going in full fury and Sen ordered for Air support, His Bde HQ was at Srinagar Airfield where Two Spitfires were stationed for immediate support. However on this occasion, The pilots expressed their inability, saying they did not have one inch maps which showed the terrain in detail, and they will not be able to use references from the ground.

The only map in the entire srinagar was at Bde HQ, Sen promptly took the map , cut out the relevant squares out of it with a blade and gave the square to the pilot. The spitfires flew using those bits of map and provided the necessary support. Sen Quips later that it must be one of those rare occasions when both the Commander on the ground and the pilots in the air shared the same map for operations.


Pakistan's 24   28 Mirage III's


At the End of the 1971 Bangladesh War, When it was time to sit back and assess scores, The Indian Air Force after evaluating the results throughout the war claimed among the PAF aircraft destroyed, Five of  the PAF's Prize  Mirage III Jets. Pakistan was quick to rebuff the claim and in a major PR exercise, arranged for a display of  its Mirage III Fleet. It had received 24 Mirage III Interceptors from France. and it invited foreign journalists to one of its airbases where 23 of the Mirage III aircraft were displayed. the 24th aircraft supposedly lost on a training flight prior to the War.  The Indian Claim of Five Mirage III's seemed ludicrous.

Then France let the cat out of the bag. It said it had delivered  28 Mirages not 24 as Pakistan claimed. so the Indian claim was not far off the mark.


Civvies caught in the crossfire.


War brings with it several unpleasant things, one among them being civilian causalities. Caught between the two fighting airforces were many civilian aircraft. in 1965, The Gujarat Chief Ministers aircraft was intercepted and shot down at Jamnagar by Pakistani Sabres. and in 1971 an Indian Airlines Fokker F-27 was hijacked to Pakistan and destroyed subsequently, When the hostilities began a Pakistani International Air Lines Twin Otter aircraft was destroyed on the Ground at Dhaka by IAF MiG-21's. Another PIA Fokker was sent to hunt the Indian Navy task force after the attack on Karachi, it crashed due to unknown reasons and killed four.


Ashok Chakra Awardees, Is it a Jinx?


The IAF till date has received two Ashok Chakras, the highest gallantry award for bravery  during peacetime. the First went to  Flt Lt Suhas Biswas, who  sucessfully crash-landed a Devon carrying the Indian Army Topbrass of the time after one of the engines fell off and the aircraft getting hard to control.

Sqn Ldr Rakesh Sharma, the first indian into space, received the second Ashok Chakra, for his 1984 Space flight with the Russians.

However, both the Ashok Chakra holders crashed their planes in less than five years after getting their Awards. Rakesh Sharma  ejected from a MiG-21 near Nashik, while testflying for HAL.  he broke his leg and was hospitalised. More tragic was  Suhas Biswas, who wore his medal for less than Two years. His Dakota flying a supply drop in the North east crashed killing him and his crew.


All the worlds first supersonics!


An Interesting Fact of the 1971 War, The Indian Chief of Air Staff was the first Indian to go supersonic*. He did this flying a Mystere in France. and the Pakistani Chief of Air Staff was the first Pakistani  to go supersonic in  a F-86 Sabre. Moreover the American advisor to the PAF in the War. was Brig Chuck Yeager, the first Human to go supersonic. in the X-1 Plane. all the three of them were in the area of conflict providing the higher direction of the air war.

* It is unclear who was the first indian to go supersonic, three Indians, P C Lal, H Moolgavkar and Roshan Suri were the first to break the sound barrier in the Mysteres, but who among the three was the first is the question.


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