A component of the Indian Army is the Army Aviation Corps, and it was formed on 1st November, 1986. A director general who has a rank of lieutenant general heads the army at its headquarters located in New Delhi.
History of Army Aviation Corps
In the year 1984, the Northern Command of the Indian Army introduced the HAL Cheetah during a conflict on the Siachen Glacier. After 2 years Air Observation Post units of the Indian Air Force were transferred to form the Army Aviation Corps of the Indian Army. With a company of nine helicopters, the corps supported ground forces, transporting troops and supplies up to 70 km of the Siachen glacier until the ceasefire in the year 2003.
The squad experienced the jungle warfare during Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war in the late 1980s. A unit of this corps operated in the country of Somalia in United Nations Operation in Somalia II from the year October 1993 to November 1994. During the operation, the unit flew more than 2000 hours without incident at 100% performance in desert-like conditions. This corps also participated in the Kargil War in the year 1999.
Role of the Army Aviation Corps
From other combat arms which also includes artillery officers, the Army Aviation Corps pilots are recruited. The Indian Air Force operates Mi35, Mil Mi25 and HAL Rudra attack helicopters under the Army operational command. HAL Cheetah, HAL Chetak and HAL Dhruv helicopters provide logistical support to the Indian Army in hard-to-reach and remote areas. The aviation corps performs artillery salvage, Combat Search and Rescue, logistics, combat movement, POW transport and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) during natural disasters and wartime. Lt Gen A.K. Suri is the director general of the Army Aviation Corps.