Service No : 8160 F(P)
Date of Birth : April 24, 1945
Place of birth : Delhi
Last Rank : Flt Lt
Unit : 26 Sqn AF
Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force
Operation : Op Cactus Lily
Martyrdom : December 16, 1971
Flt Lt Tanmay Singh Dandass hailed from Delhi and was born on 24 Apr 1945. Son of an Army officer who served in the Army Medical Corps, he was commissioned into the Indian Air Force on 31 Dec 1963 at the age of 18 years. He joined the flying stream of the IAF and got trained as a fighter pilot. After completing his flying training, he served with various flying squadrons located at different Air Force bases.
After serving for some time, he got married to Ms Suman. He joined the 26 Squadron in Feb 1968 located at Air Force base Adampur. By 1971, he had put in around 8 years of service and evolved into a professionally competent fighter pilot having expertise in various air operations.
Offensive Air Operation (Indo-Pak War) : 16 Dec 1971
During 1971, Flt Lt TS Dandass was serving with 26 Sqn, known as “Warriors” and was based at Air Force Station Adampur. No. 26 Sqn, AF was formed under the command of Wg Cdr MM Singh, on 1st of Jan 1968 at Adampur. It was the first Squadron in the IAF to be equipped with the indomitable SU-7 aircraft. Until 1971, the squadron was a type-training squadron, helping other squadrons to convert to the Su-7. As the war broke out on 03 Dec 1971 with Pakistan, the Squadron with Wing Commander Ram Krishna Batra as its commanding officer undertook various offensive air missions. The Squadron played an active role in the war with the primary role of flying Close Air Support (CAS) missions with 8 Tactical Air Command (TAC). It also flew several sorties with 6 TAC. Flt Lt TS Dandass was tasked to undertake one such operation on 16 Dec 1971. The operation was a four aircraft mission to attack Narowal railway station.
Wg Cdr RK Batra, the Squadron Commander led the four aircraft bombing mission to the railway yard at Narowal. The strike formation had Flt Lt TS Dandass as No 2, Flt Lt Ravish Malhotra who later trained as a cosmonaut, as No 3 and Flt Lt Narayan Menon as No 4. The mission was flown late in the afternoon, and visibility conditions were poor. The aircraft were heavily loaded and it was to be a steep glide attack from around 4 km height to give greater accuracy as the intent was to destroy the Narowal rail yard, a prime interdiction target. As the target was important for the enemy, it was heavily defended by the anti-aircraft guns. Despite the threat of enemy air defence assets, Flt Lt TS Dandass and his comrades went for the attack. However his aircraft received direct hits from the anti-aircraft guns and probably crashed on to the ground. But he is presumed to have been taken over as a POW (Prisoner of War). However, successive regimes in Pakistan have denied the existence of Indian POWs in its jails. Presently, Flt Lt TS Dandass's name features on the official list of the ’54 Personnel Missing in Action’, tabled in the Lok Sabha in 1979 by the then Minister of State of External Affairs Shri Samarendra Kundu.
Flt Lt TS Dandass is survived by his wife Smt Suman Dandass.