Military & Aerospace

Air Marshal NAK Browne: The new VCAS
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 03 Jan , 2011

Air Marshal NAK Browne PVSM, AVSM, VM assumed the charge as the new Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) at Air Headquarters, today. He was formerly the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of IAF’s Western Air Command (WAC), the largest and the most vital Operational Command of the IAF.

Leading with a vision statement – “People First Mission Always”, he ensured that the Command continued to maintain greater interaction with its three affiliated Army Commands – the Northern Command, Western Command and the South Western Command, which resulted in the successful conduct of a number of joint exercises, such as the Yodha Shakti in May 2010. The command continues to provide round the year air support to the Army units deployed in the Glacier / Northern Region as well.

With a commitment to enhancing the operational capability of WAC which occupies an important place in the modernization process of the IAF, Air Marshal Browne stressed upon the infrastructure development especially in the Northern Region, induction and speedy operationalisation of new equipment, Aviation and Maintenance Safety and the welfare of the air warriors who are the greatest asset of the organization.

Under his command and personal supervision, the first ever landing of an AN-32 aircraft took place at Nyoma, Advance Landing Ground (ALG) on 18 September 2009.This significant landing of a fixed wing aircraft at a height of 13,300 ft marked the successful culmination of joint effort by the IAF and the Army to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh- Ladakh in support of Army as also to provide the IAF with alternate deployment options in the Northern Sector. The development of Nyoma would also ensure that air movements in the area continue when road traffic gets affected during Winters besides promoting tourism of the general area. 

He oversaw the massive Disaster Relief efforts in the flood affected Leh region, post Cloudburst in August 2010 for dedicated casualty evacuation, relief efforts and transportation of heavy bridging and communication equipment in the Leh Region. All out efforts were made towards reoperationalisation of the Leh runway in record time to ensure that civil and military flights continue to operate. These rescue and relief operations termed as ‘Op Leh’ involved flying a total of approximately 295 sorties,   airlifting 550 tonnes of relief material and equipment and flying approximately 400 passengers which also included about 120 foreign tourists and Indians stranded in the flood affected Leh region.

Commissioned into the fighter stream of Indian Air Force on 24 Jun 1972, Air Marshal Browne has varied operational experience and has flown aircraft that include Hunter, all variants of MiG-21s, Jaguar and SU-30K. An alumnus of National Defence Academy, he is a Fighter Combat Leader who has also served as an instructor at the Tactics and Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) and Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington. He trained with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the United Kingdom on Jaguar aircraft and commanded a Jaguar Squadron subsequently.

A graduate of Air Command and Staff College, USA he has held many appointments that include Joint Director at Air War Strategy Cell at Air Headquarters, Chief Operations Officer and Air Officer Commanding of a SU-30 base, Air-I at Western Air Command (WAC) and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air Headquarters. He was also responsible for establishing the Indian Defence Wing in Tel Aviv, Israel in April 1997 where he served as the Defence Attaché till July 2000. From March 2007 to 31 May 2009 he functioned as the Deputy Chief of Air Staff at Air Headquarters, responsible for IAF’s major modernization programmes before taking over as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of IAF’s Western Air Command (WAC).

Air Marshal Browne is a recipient of Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM), Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM) and Vayu Sena Medal (VM).

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