What are some badass acts of the Indian Air Force?
The most audacious and perhaps a “badass” act of Indian Air Force, in its thorough history of over 8 decades, has been the plan to execute an operation against a US Navy Carrier Strike Group.
During the 1971 Indo-Pak War, Indian Armed Forces were carrying out lighting attacks against the West Pakistani forces deployed in East Pakistan and was close to capturing the Flag City of Dhaka. It was the height of the war and the rate at which East Pakistan was falling, has alarmed the United States of America (USA). To constitute a hegemony over South-East Asia and influence the Power Struggle here, USA had constituted South-East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), and one of its members was Pakistan, which was a beneficiary of US Military Aid and Equipment.
After the onset of 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War in East Pakistan, Indian Army and Air Force carried out offensive strikes that did not allow Pakistanis Forces to hold any ground against the Indian Forces, whose victory now seemed certain. To counter this, President Nixon asked for the USS Enterprise Career Strike Group to be deployed in the Bay of Bengal as a “Show of Force” and to deter Indian Forces in East Pakistan to retaliate.
This move was not retaliatory and was planned much before by General Haig who had asked Kissinger to deploy a Career Strike Group in the Indian Ocean which can be out to combat in a 24-hours notice. The Career Strike Group, officially known as the Task Force 74, comprised off USS Enterprise, which had more than 70 Fighters and Bombers and included Destroyers, Guided Missile Ships and more.
To counter this, Indian Navy had INS Vikrant which was a Light Carrier and comprised of some 20 Alize and Sea-Hawks that were fit for combat. To counter this, the Indian Air Force came up with the idea of a “Kamikaze” attack that can bring down the USS Enterprise and give much time to Indian Forces to capture Dhaka.
To plan this, many Indian Air Force pilots volunteered for this operation which was to fly a Bomber Aircraft and crash it on the Aircraft Carrier. Eventually, Air Commodore Krishan Kumar Badhwar, who was a Wing Commander then, was selected to carry out this operation.
Canberra was a Medium Bomber Aircraft that was inducted by Indian Air Force in mid-1950s, as a replacement for the B-24 Liberator Bombers. Canberra was the primary offensive arm for Indian Air Force and has participated in a couple of conflicts against the Pakistani Air Force in 1965 Conflict and UN Peacekeeping Missions.
Wing Commander Krishan Kumar Badhwar had flown the aircraft in the Western Sector where he had undertaken various operations at Masoor, Drig Road and Port Installations at Karachi where his attacks were instrumental in destroying the Enemy Supply Lines and Oil Ridges. This was a serious time when IAF decided to bring this plan into rectification.
However, the attack was called off with Soviet Union Intervention who deploy Two Cruisers and a Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarine which eventually deterred the Task Force 74 to change their track and this gave Indian Forces enough time to capture Dhaka and bring the war to an end.
Though this mission was called off, it was a well-planned operation which would have been interesting to see how it would have been executed.
An artist’s rendition of a pair of Canberra B(I) Mk.58s attacking harbour installations at Karachi, December 1971. Image Credits: Bharat Rakshak:Indian Air Force
Source:- Harsh B Mishra Quora