Context: The Army Aviation Corps (AAC), the youngest Corps of the Indian Army, celebrated its 35th Corps Day on November 1. 

The evolution of the Army Aviation Corps (AAC)

  • The origin of the AAC can be traced back to the raising of the Army Aviation wing of the Royal Air Force in India in 1942.
  • Later on, there was a subsequent formation of the first Indian Air Observation Post in August 1947.
  • The role played by Indian Air Observation Post: 
    • The Air Observation Post units primarily acted as artillery spotters which are the elements that help the artillery in directing the fire and also giving air support to ground forces. 
    • In the wars of 1965 and 1971, the Air Observation Post helicopters played a key role in the battlefields by flying close to the enemy lines and helping ground assets spot targets.
  • Separate formation: The Corps was raised as a separate formation on November 1 in 1986. 
    • It now draws its officers and men from all arms of the Army, including a significant number from the artillery.
  • Contributions:
    • Immediately after raising, the units of the Corps were pressed into action in Operation Pawan by the Indian Peacekeeping Forces, in the mostly jungle areas of Sri Lanka against the Tamil Tigers. 
    • Ever since AAC helicopters have been an inseparable part of fighting formations in all major conflict scenarios, and a life-saving asset in peace times.
    • Last year, Indian President also presented the President’s Colours to the Army Aviation Corps in a ceremonial parade held at Army Aviation Base at Nashik Road.

Role in counter insurgency-terrorism ops (CI-CT operations)

  • In the modern-day battle formation, elements like infantry, short and long artillery, armoured formations and Army helicopters are closely linked with each other. 
  • These use information and data points collected from ground and airborne surveillance assets and satellites. Helicopters are a key element of this battlefield, which is going to become even more technology-intensive in the future.
  • These battle machines, which can perform both observation/recce and attack functions, are an ideal choice for CI-CT operations to tackle difficult terrains, and also avoid ground-based threats like Improvised Explosive Devices and ambushes. 
  • The use of air assets in CI-CT operations is always done with caution because of the possibility of collateral damage.

With the motto Suveg and Sudridh (Swift and Sure), the youngest corps of the Indian Army is set to further grow in its tactical importance in the battlefield.

Image Source: IE