We are expanding the fleet in both the fixed and rotary wing. There is already a plan that is being deliberated upon by the MHA
Force Magazine - National Security and Aerospace Newsmagazine

"We are expanding the fleet in both the fixed and rotary wing. There is already a plan that is being deliberated upon by the MHA"
Inspector General (Air), Border Security Force, Air Vice Marshal V.S. Bharti

V.S. BhartiRecently, Border Security Force (BSF) started inducting its own pilots in its air wing. What significance does it hold for the force considering that it relies heavily on the Indian Air Force (IAF)?
For this, we need to understand the background of how the BSF air wing came to be founded. It started with one single aircraft in 1969. Initially, there was an impetus that they’d grow with decent number of fixed wing aircraft. However, over the years the number of fixed wing aircraft depleted. Later, with the induction of the Russian class of helicopters, the helicopter stream has grown a little bit, but somehow the growth of the fixed wing has not been as per the demands of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). These Russian helicopters are registered as military helicopters. In the case of military registered aircraft, there was an understanding between the ministry of home affairs (MHA) and ministry of defence (MoD) that these be flown as far as possible by the IAF pilots on deputation. So, the BSF has been taking support of the IAF to operate the military registered helicopters.

As far as the fixed-wing aircraft are concerned, these are civil registered, so they require somebody who holds the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) to fly as Pilot in Command (PIC). The BSF have trained these pilots but they have been leaving the air wing for obvious reasons that they have better revenue outside. Presently, we do not have any BSF officers who are a level of experience to be a PIC on these aircraft. That is the reason again that we have sought the help of the IAF to give us pilots on deputation.

Now, this shortcoming was realised and the BSF started inducting its own pilots. For the fixed wing aircraft we got Commercial Pilot License (CPL) holders, and also we inducted officers from the BSF and other CAPFs for flight training. These officers got their CPL and are flying as co-pilots. Similarly, we have trained pilots in the helicopter stream also. These pilots are flying Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).

Further, six pilots have been training with the IAF on military registered helicopters (Mi-17 V5) and they are now qualified to fly as co-pilots on these helicopters. Over and above that, we are trying to encourage officers who are superannuating from the IAF to get absorbed in the BSF. There are three officers who have recently joined on absorption and one more is likely to join. These officers (six CAPF pilots who trained with the IAF and four more from the IAF who are absorbed into the BSF) will fly Mi-17 V5, a military registered helicopter.

The idea is to make the BSF a self-sufficient entity as far as operation, maintenance of air assets are concerned.

Kiren Rijiju
MoS (home) Kiren Rijiju in front of Mi-17V5 helicopter after a flight which was flown by all BSF aircrew. The force has started inducting its own pilots to fly the military-registered helicopters

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