Service chiefs from India’s Most Fearless 3 recall their greatest professional obstacles
The tale of Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari flying a MiG-29 fighter without a canopy at 1.9 Mach, or almost twice the speed of sound, was the most compelling of these.At the publication of the book “India’s Most Fearless 3,” which contains ten accounts of the bravery and fearlessness of military people, the three service chiefs on Tuesday discussed some of the greatest difficulties and challenging circumstances they had encountered throughout their careers.Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari’s tale of flying a MiG-29 fighter without a canopy at 1.9 Mach, or nearly twice the speed of sound, was the most compelling of them. At a book launch event, the three service chiefs were asked to discuss the most difficult situations they had ever encountered.
“The lives of men and women in uniform are challenging every day, but I believe we have all experienced some awful situations. The one on which I can devote a few minutes is a description of my own experience of flying without a canopy in a MiG-29 at a speed of Mach 1.9 at a height of 12.3 km while the outside temperature was minus 53 degrees, Chaudhari stated.He said that he was performing an air test on the MiG-29 when the “canopy flew off” to the audience, which included top military leaders and the families of numerous troops recognised for their valour. He claimed that in such a scenario, the “time of useful awareness,” or the amount of time remaining after an explosive decompression at such an altitude and speed, was only six seconds.
“A choice could be made at that time. So that’s when I initiated a dive with the aircraft. I had reached Mach 1.9, or around 1,700 kph. However, the plan was to leave as soon as possible. To avoid the wind blast, I had to assume a foetal posture, and I eventually brought the plane down, he continued.The head of the navy, Admiral R. Hari Kumar, described being on pins and needles when combat planes from the aircraft carrier he was in charge of reached the limit of their endurance during an exercise. But he claimed that every operation at sea was a challenge and served as a teaching moment.He referred to the tactical exercise and claimed that the moment the jets reached the aircraft carrier was “truly nail-biting.” He claimed that the planes had almost little fuel remaining in the tank when they returned and touched down.
Gen. Manoj Pande, the head of the army, spoke on how troops are inspired to make the greatest sacrifices while performing their duties by the ethos of “naam, namak, nishan,” or honour, loyalty, and identity. These three things, he continued, “are what inspire and drive our men to go into circumstances where they are facing death.”This mindset is developed via years of practise, dealing with challenging situations, and being inspired by the stories of heroes like those in “India’s Most Fearless 3,” according to Pande.The third instalment of a series, written by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh, the Hindustan Times’ defence correspondent, contains true accounts of the bravery of Indian military soldiers. The tales of an Indian Army medic who attended to both Indian and Chinese soldiers during the deadly Galwan Valley battle in June 2020, the crew of an Indian Navy destroyer who saved countless people from Cyclone Tauktae in the Arabian Sea, and an Indian Air Force pilot who ejected from his aircraft less than two seconds before it hit the ground are among them.