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CDS Gen Anil Chauhan Visits ASTE and Air Force Test Pilots School in Bengaluru

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Anil Chauhan, visited the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) and Air Force Test Pilots School (AFTPS) in Bengaluru on May 24, 2024. Upon his arrival, he was honored with a ceremonial Guard of Honour and laid a wreath at the memorial dedicated to the Indian test crew and scientists who made the ultimate sacrifice during flight testing.

During his visit, Gen Anil Chauhan received briefings on the ongoing trials at ASTE and the flight test training activities of AFTPS. He was informed about the organisational roles of these unique Indian Air Force (IAF) institutions and toured their facilities. The CDS witnessed demonstrations of major indigenous projects under the Aatmnirbharata initiative and inspected the training infrastructure. Additionally, he visited the well-archived ASTE museum, which showcases artifacts from the five-decade-long history of ASTE and AFTPS.

Gen Anil Chauhan also presided over the valedictory function of the 46th Flight Test Course at AFTPS, where 17 students graduated. The event, hosted by ASTE, included the traditional Suranjan Das Dinner, during which graduating students and their spouses received certificates of qualification. Five students were awarded trophies for outstanding performance in various categories:

  • Sqn Ldr A Berwal: 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
  • Lt Cdr Gaurav Tyagi: Dunlop Trophy for Most Promising FTE and Flight Evaluation

The event was also attended by the AOC-in-C Training Command of IAF and veteran test crew. The Officer Commanding AFTPS presented an academic overview and end-of-course report, highlighting the institution’s role as the de-facto Centre of Excellence for flight test training for officers of the three services, Indian Coast Guard, HAL, DRDO, and friendly foreign nations.

In his valedictory address, Gen Anil Chauhan praised the Commandant of ASTE and all AFTPS staff for maintaining the highest training standards in this niche field and for their crucial role in capability building and modernisation of the IAF. He congratulated the graduating officers, emphasising the importance of professional competence to meet quality and safety requirements for operational preparedness. He urged them to strive for higher professional capability in their journey as test crew.

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