The Garud Commando Force is the special force’s unit of the Indian Air Force. It was formed in 2004 and has a current strength of approximately 1080 personnel. The unit derives its name from Garuda, a divine bird-like creature of Hindu Mythology.
History: After attempts were by terrorists to attack two major air bases in Jammu and Kashmir in 2001, Indian Air Force commanders contemplated the need for a specialized force to protect these critical elements and to have a dedicated Commando Force trained in Special Forces techniques, Combat Search and Rescue, Reconnaissance, Counter Insurgency Operations and Emergency in response to terror-threats to airfields.
The first plan in October 2002 was to raise a specialized force with 2000 commandos. The group was originally called "Tiger Force", but was later renamed as "Garud Force"
In September 2003, the Government of India authorized a 1080 strong force to be raised and trained on the lines of the Para commandos of the army and MARCOS of the Indian Navy with the mandate of performing niche, Air Force specific operational tasks.
The first batch of 100 volunteers from the IAF No.1 Airmen Training Center at Belgaum, Karnataka were earmarked to undergo Garud Training at Gurgaon. The Garuds were first unveiled on 6 February 2004, when the first batch of 62 "Air Commandos" passed out of training in New Delhi.
The Garuds were first seen publicly during the Air Force Day celebrations at New Delhi on October 8, 2004.
In the aftermath of the Pathankot Terror Attack, Indian Air Force decided to raise ten additional squadrons of Garud commandos, comprising about 700 personnel, bringing the total strength of the force to 1780.
GARUD COMMANDO FORCE OVERVIEW
Headquarters: New Delhi
Branch: Indian Air Force
Type: Special Forces
Role: Direct Action, Airfield Seizure, Special Reconnaissance, Airborne Operations, Air Assault. Unconventional Warfare, Counter Terrorism, Foreign Internal Defence, Special Operations, Combat Search and Rescue
Motto: Defence by Offence
Engagements: UN Mission - MONUC (Congo), Security during Aero India 2005- 2013, Counter Insurgency in Kashmir conflict, 2016 Pathankot attack