New Delhi : President Pratibha Patil Tuesday presented a Standards, a highly prestigious decoration and recognition, to Indian Air Force (IAF) 24 Squadron that operates the frontline Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets.
Patil also bestowed the honour on 111 Helicopter Unit that operates Cheetah helicopters in high altitude areas.The ceremony, attended by IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, was held at the Bareilly air base in Uttar Pradesh.
A ceremonial parade and a fly past by various aircraft, including the newly-inducted Advanced Light Helicopter MkIII, Jaguars and Su-30s in various formations formed part of the ceremony. An aerobatics display by the Su-30, also featured on the occassion.
The 24 Squadron, formed on February 16 1962, participated actively in 1962 Sino-Indian war and the 1971 India-Pakistan war. The squadron, named Hawks, was the first to operate the Su-30MKI from Leh airfield in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
Its motto is 'Navijitya Nivartanam' which means 'No Return Without Conquest'. The 111 Helicopter Unit, raised in January 1963, has participated in the India-Pakistan conflict of 1965 and the 1971 India-Pakistan war. The unit has created a world record for the highest landing by a Cheetah helicopter at an altitude of 23,250 feet.
The 111 Helicopter Unit has been undertaking humanitarian relief operations and casualty evacuation. The unit helicopters have saved several casualties and stranded mountaineers. Called the 'Snow Tigers', the unit's motto is 'Apatsu Mitram' or 'Friends in Distress'.