The Indian Air Force was born on 08 Oct 32, when the Indian Air Force Bill became an act. During the first six years of the existence of the IAF, it comprised of one squadron only. In Sep 39, when World War II broke out the IAF had a strength of 16 officers and 144 Hawai Sepoys. The pilots were trained at Cranwell (UK) and technical personnel were trained at the Aircraft Depot, Karachi. The technical training continued at the squadron under the supervision British non-commissioned officers. Specific training centres in India were not established.
With the advent of war and the learning of Japan towards the Axis powers, the latter was considered as a potential enemy. Therefore, need was felt to make IAF a self supporting force for the South Eastern Theatre of war. This led to the rapid expansion of the IAF.? The target was fixed to have strength of 10 IAF Squadrons. With this expansion, the requirement of pilots and technical personnel increased. For the training of technical personnel, a technical training school was set up at Ambala in 1940.
Since prior to 1939, there was hardly any training carried out in India either of pilots or ground engineers, there was no organization at Air HQ level for this purpose.? However, when it became impossible to send Indians to UK for training due to war, it was decided to create training facilities in the country itself.
To cater to meet the expansion of the IAF, a target of 300 pilots and 3000 technical personnel was fixed. Later on as the demand for ground technicians and non-technical personnel increased, the target was fixed at 2750 per month. To cope with such a large training commitment, a Directorate of Training was formed in Air HQ.
On the decision to expand the IAF, a Recruits Training Centre (for discipline, drill, etc.) and a non-technical training centre was formed at Lahore. No.1 Technical School at Ambala provided technical training. These training centres provided intensive training courses, designed to make the trainees fit to shoulder responsibilities as soon as they were posted to the Units after passing out.? This system continued till 1947.
Independence of India and formation of Pakistan, led to the division of assets of the IAF in undivided India. Available for division were eight squadrons of single engined fighters (Tempest) and two squadrons of twin engined medium transport ac (Dakota). Two fighter & one transport squadrons were transferred to Pakistan and six fighters and one transport squadrons remained with India.
The training establishments were divided on the basis of the international boundary. Training establishments located within the dominion of India remained with India and those located in Pakistan went over to Pakistan. Since training was in progress at the time of partition, it was decided that until such time the current courses were completed joint training would continue. The joint training ceased by the end of Oct 47, when the trainees and staff joined their opted country.
On 15 Aug 1947, the Air Force Training Establishments located in India were:
No.2 (Indian) Group RAF located at Bangalore with Air Cmde Adams as AOC was responsible for training of the Air Force recruits and the ground training institutions as on the day of independent India.? Both the flying training schools, however, remained under the direct control of Air HQ. On 15 Sep 1947, No.2(Indian) Group RAF was renamed as No.2(Training) Group RAF and Air Cmde Narendra took over as AOC on 03 Oct 47.