‘Make in India’ – True Professionals needed – Air Mshl Pramod Athawale (Retd)

May 9, 2016

Reproduced is one of two articles by Air Mshl Pramod Athawale, he needs no introduction to Marutfans! This article re-produced here, appeared in rediff.com and can be accessed at ‘Make in India’ needs ex-servicemen Some of the comments too are worth reading. Read the rest of this entry »


Is Being A Fighter Pilot Really Women Empowerment?

January 3, 2016

Air Marshal P V Athawale PVSM, AVSM, VSM (retd), a former Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Indian Air Force’s Maintenance Command, recently drew my attention to an article he had authored Beyond the fighter pilot glamour on Rediff. To me it was a totally new perspective, worthy of sharing and circulating widely. Read it and I hope you agree that it is indeed an eye opener.

” ‘Why have we focused mainly on the question of women becoming fighter pilots? Why have women never asked for induction as Airwomen, Security Guards or Enrolled Non-Combatants? Is it that these jobs at lower levels demand far greater hardships without being glamorous?’ asks Air Marshal P V Athawale (retd). Read the rest of this entry »

Memories, 1965: Air Cmde VK ‘Murph’ Murthy.

August 28, 2015

I was commanding No 101 FR Sqn based at Tezpur and moved to ATW Jamnagar during Kutch Operations in May 1965. The Squadron was undergoing annual Armament Training there.

Gp.Capt. George King was the Station Commander then  and Air  Marshal Engineer was DCAS. Read the rest of this entry »

September 1965 – II: The Land – Air War (Chhamb, 01 to 04 Sep)

October 15, 2014

Continuing from the previous blog, we move on to examining issues brought out by Ajai Shukla, in an article published in the Business Standard (BS) of 02 Sep 14. For ease of reference it can be read here.

The Official History (OH) of the 1965 war can be referenced here. The portion pertaining to air activity is at Chapter 09 and can be seen here.

As far as I know, the OH was leaked in 1999, was declassified and has since been published by Nataraj Publishers. That is why it is available on a public site – Bharat Rakshak. Grateful to Bharat Rakshak & Jagan Pillarisetti, in particular, for the information. Read the rest of this entry »

September 1965 – III: The Land – Air War (Punjab Area)

October 15, 2014

We continue with our series on September 1965. References are and will be made to an article by Ajai Shukla in the Business Standard (BS) of 02 Sep titled “The day nothing happened“. For convenience we will also refer to the Official History (OH) as also the portion pertaining to the Air War and some others as we proceed.

Continuing from where we left off in the previous blog, we move South to events in Punjab.

The article in the Business Standard makes a reference to events in the Amritsar Sector on 06 Sep:

‘Sep 6 was also when Indian troops crossed the border at Amritsar and, taking the Pakistan Army by surprise, reached Lahore’s outskirts. The official history recounts that this was achieved without IAF support, a devastating accusation endorsed by noted historian, John Fricker. In his authoritative work, “Battle for Pakistan: The Air War of 1965”, Fricker writes: “Incredibly, the Indian offensive struggled on without any form of air support, and the IAF did not challenge the repeated ground attack sorties flown without loss by the PAF throughout the day…” That evening, battered by the PAF and without a clear plan, Indian troops pulled back from the brink of a war-winning victory — the capture of Lahore.’  Read the rest of this entry »

September 1965 – IV: “Some hits, Some Misses”

October 15, 2014

It is time to move on to what some could describe as a slugfest between the two Air Forces. Some events have been recorded in the Official History (OH) of the 1965 war. Ajai Shukla has mentioned attacks and dog fights in his article in the Business Standard (BS) of 02 Sep “The day nothing happened“. There are other sources and eye witness accounts too that shed light on some significant aspects of the war.

On 06 Sep Ayub Khan officially declared war against India. The PAF conducted a series of attacks at IAF bases on the Western Front. Commencing late evening – Pathankot, Halwara, Amritsar, Adampur, Jamnagar, Srinagar were attacked. Read the rest of this entry »

September 1965 – V: The Balance Sheet.

October 15, 2014

The Official History (OH) of the air war  is given from page 249 onwards. What has been generally accepted is that the losses were 59 for the IAF as against 43 of the PAF. Based on this Ajai Shukla has concluded that the IAF suffered a resounding defeat. I pointed out to him on Twitter that amongst other factors, one also needed to consider how much flying was done by both sides. His rejoinder was direct and to the point “IAF lost more aircraft than PAF, which was 1/3 its size. I’d call that a stinging defeat“. I tried  to explain that, as per the Official History (OH) their attrition rate was higher and needed to be considered. Also tried to explain that since the IAF flew almost 4000 sorties as against 2300 odd of the PAF, it was but natural the IAF would lose more. Again this was summarily dismissed – “Surely you are intelligent enough to see through this staistical jugglery?” Read the rest of this entry »