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November 02, 2020
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Why in news?

The Army Aviation Corps (AAC), the youngest Corps of the Indian Army, celebrated its 35th Corps Day on November 1, 2020.

How did Army Aviation Corps originate?

  • 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.
  • Its origin is also linked to the subsequent formation of the first Indian Air Observation Post in August 1947.

What are Air Observation Post units?

  • The Air Observation Post units primarily acted as artillery spotters.
  • These 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.

When did the Corps raise separately?

  • The Corps was raised as a separate formation on November 1, 1986.
  • The AAC now draws its officers and men from all arms of the Army, including a significant number from the artillery.
  • Immediately after raising, the units of the Corps were pressed into action in Operation Pawan by the Indian Peacekeeping Forces.
  • Ever since, AAC helicopters have been a vital part of fighting formations in all major conflict scenarios and a life-saving asset in peace times.
  • Over the years, the Corps has grown by additions of new units, equipment and ground assets.
  • Along with this, its roles and capabilities too have grown.
  • In 2019, the President’s Colours were presented to the Army Aviation Corps in a ceremonial parade.

What is the President’s Colours?

  • The President’s Colours is a ceremonial flag.
  • It is awarded to military units or institutions as symbol of their excellence.
  • It is awarded to recognize their contributions during war and peace.

What is the role of AAC helicopters?

  • Their main roles include reconnaissance, observation, casualty evacuation, essential load drops, combat search and rescue.
  • The AAC helicopters also participate in Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations in peace times.
  • In some scenarios, Army helicopters can also act as Airborne Command Posts, replacing the ground command posts if needed.
  • The Indian Army has further sharpened the AAC edge by adding dedicated aviation units along with the various operational Corps and Command formations.

What helicopters does ACC operate?

  • The AAC operates Chetak, Cheetah, Lancer, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, and ALH Weapon System Integrated (WSI) Rudra.
  • Acquisition of new helicopters is in the pipeline, in the backdrop of concerns over the fleet of the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
  • Initially, AAC operated non-weaponised helicopters and attack helicopters were only with the Air Force.
  • But post 2012, the government has allowed induction of weaponised choppers in the AAC.

What is its role in modern day battlefield?

  • 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.

What is its role in counter insurgency-terrorism ops?

  • These battle machines can perform both observation/recce and attack functions.
  • So, they are an ideal choice for Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism (CI-CT) operations to tackle difficult terrains.
  • They are also avoiding ground-based threats like Improvised Explosive Devices and ambushes.
  • Having said this, use of air assets in CI-CT operations is always done with caution because of the possibility of collateral damage.

What is needed?

  • With the motto Suveg and Sudridh, the youngest corps of the Indian Army is set to further grow in its tactical importance in the battlefield.
  • There is a need for a stronger push of modernisation and enhancement of assault capabilities to take further its role of ‘force multiplier.’

 

Source: The Indian Express

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