CDS Gen Anil Chauhan visits Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment & Air Force Test Pilots School in Bengaluru

Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Anil Chauhan visited Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) and Air Force Test Pilots School (AFTPS) in Bengaluru on 24 May 2024. A ceremonial Guard of Honour was accorded and he laid a wreath at the memorial which honours the supreme sacrifice made by the Indian test crew and scientists while undertaking flight testing. As part of his tour, he was briefed on the ongoing trials at ASTE and flight test training activities of AFTPS alongside aspects of the organisational roles of these unique institutions of IAF. He was conducted around the facilities available at ASTE and AFTPS with the demonstration of major indigenous projects as part of Aatmnirbharata and the training infrastructure. The CDS also visited the well-archived ASTE museum which houses artifacts depicting significant historical milestones along the five-decade-long journey of ASTE and AFTPS.

Gen Anil Chauhan presided over the valedictory function of the 46 Flight Test Course, which was conducted at AFTPS. A total of 17 students have graduated. This event was hosted by the ASTE as the traditional Suranjan Das Dinner where not only the graduating students but also their spouses were given a certificate of qualification. Five students were also awarded trophies for their outstanding performance under various categories. The students who were awarded were Sqn Ldr A Berwal with the Suranjan Das Trophy for best Test Pilot , Sqn Ldr Kapil Yadav – CAS Trophy for best flight evaluation, Sqn Ldr V Supriya – Maharaja Hanumanth Singhji Sword for best FTE, Sqn Ldr Rajnish Rai – Kapil Bhargava Trophy for best in ground subjects and Lt Cdr Gaurav Tyagi – Dunlop Trophy for most promising FTE and flight evaluation.

The occasion was also graced by the AOC-in-C Training Command of IAF and veteran test crew. The academic overview and end of course report was presented by the Officer Commanding AFTPS,  who highlighted the critical role being played by the institution as the de-facto Centre of Excellence for imparting flight test training to officers of the three services, Indian Coast Guard, HAL, DRDO and friendly foreign nations.

In his valedictory address, the CDS complimented Commandant ASTE and all staff of AFTPS for maintaining the highest standards of training in this niche field and their crucial role in capability building and modernisation of the Indian Air Force, including the upgradation of the military aviation environment of the nation. He congratulated the graduating officers, emphasising the importance of professional competence to meet the quality & safety requirements for operational preparedness, and extolled them to continue to strive hard to achieve higher professional capability in their journey as test crew.

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