Delhi: Indian Air Force Vice Chief Air Marshal Pranab Kumar Barbora Passes Away

The IAF Officer played several key roles including the commanding of a MiG-21 squadron and serving as the Chief Operations Officer of a fighter airbase.
Delhi: Indian Air Force Vice Chief Air Marshal Pranab Kumar Barbora Passes Away

GUWAHATI: The Indian Air Force mourns the loss of one of its distinguished leaders, Air Marshal PK Barbora, the former Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF), who passed away on Monday, October 30, while undergoing medical treatment at the R&R Hospital in Delhi.

Air Marshal Pranab Kumar Barbora, born in Shillong, Meghalaya, on December 10, 1950, embarked on his illustrious journey as a fighter pilot when he was commissioned into the Indian Air Force (IAF) on June 13, 1970. Over the course of his career, he accumulated extensive flying experience, amassing more than 3,500 flight hours.

He showcased his unwavering commitment and courage during the 1971 India-Pakistan war, and his contributions extended beyond combat. He was a key member of the IAF team that ushered in the first Jaguar Squadron and introduced the IAF's maiden Air Combat Simulator, a pioneering initiative in Asia. Air Marshal PK Barbora's operational roles included commanding a MiG-21 squadron, serving as the Chief Operations Officer of a fighter airbase, and leading as the Air Officer Commanding for a major fighter airbase within the Eastern Air Command.

His career further featured international responsibilities, as he held the position of Air Attaché at the Embassy of India in Moscow. Subsequently, he played a crucial role as the Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Perspective Plans and Force Structure) at HQ Integrated Defence Staff. He also assumed the role of Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Inspection) at Air Headquarters. His tenure included serving as the Senior Air Staff Officer of the Eastern Air Command before taking on the position of Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) for the first time. Following his exemplary service, he became the AOC-in-C of the Western Air Command (WAC).

A remarkable milestone in Air Marshal PK Barbora's career is that he was the first individual from the Northeast to attain such a prestigious position in the Armed Forces. His contributions and dedication to the nation were recognized with numerous honours and awards, including the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) and the Vayu Sena Medal (VM). Moreover, Air Marshal PK Barbora had the distinct honour of serving as one of the Honorary Aides-de-Camp (ADC) to the President, who holds the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of India.

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