Kolkata April : The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Hasimara airbase, which was established soon after the India-China war in 1962 and which played a key role during the India-Pakistan war in 1971, celebrated its golden jubilee recently with an array of daredevil displays, which included performance by Mi-17 V5 helicopters, special heli-borne operations by IAF’s Garud commandos and skydiving team.
The weeklong celebrations to mark 50 years of its operational existence at the airbase began from April 7 and concluded on April 13, an IAF official said on Monday. In one of its rare displays, three IAF Sukhoi-30 MKIs from Assam’s Tezpur airbase flew from Assam, he said.
The strategically placed airbase, about 30 km from Jalpaiguri town, was initially home to IAF Toofani squadrons. Over the years, various IAF fighter units operated from here flying the Gnats, Ajeets, Hunters, MiG-21Bis and the Mig-27 ML fighter jets.
The airbase, which is a gateway to the Northeast and known for its close proximity with “Chicken’s Neck” corridor that links north and south Bengal, has the distinction of raising the first aerobatics team of the IAF, famously called “The Thunderbolts”.