Service No : 20461 F(P)
Date of Birth : August 5, 1967
Last Rank : Squadron Leader
Unit : 114 HU AF
Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force
Operation : Op Meghdoot
Martyrdom : August 16, 2002
Squadron Leader Sanjay Bharadwaj was born on 05th Aug 1967. After completing his schooling he got selected to join the prestigious NDA. He joined the 75th NDA course and passed out on 01 Dec 1988. Thereafter he went to the Air Force Academy for his further training and got trained as a pilot as a part of the 144th Pilots' Course.
After completing his flying training, Sqn Ldr S Bharadwaj got commissioned into the Indian Air Force on 16 Dec 1989 at the age of 22 years. He became a Flt Lt on 16 Dec 1994 and subsequently got promoted to Sqn Ldr. By 2002, he had put in around 13 years of service and had evolved into an ace Helicopter pilot having expertise in various air operations.
Siachen Operation: 16 Aug 2002
During August 2002, Sqn Ldr S Bharadwaj was serving with 114 Helicopter Unit known as “Siachen Pioneers.” 114 HU was formed at Leh on 01 Apr 1964 with an establishment of 10 Allouette helicopters with Squadron Leader Arvind Dalaya as its first commanding officer. Towards the end of the year 1964, the Unit HQ was shifted to Jammu from where a detachment operated in Srinagar till 1975 before shifting back to Jammu. Thereafter the Unit moved back to Leh in 1987 and was maintaining a permanent detachment at Thoise for Air Maintenance of Siachen Glacier under Operation Meghdoot. In the year 2002, 114 HU with Wing Commander Mayenk Tewari as its Commanding Officer was engaged in operations in support of the Indian Army as part of OP Meghdoot. Sqn Ldr S Bharadwaj undertook many air support operations after joining the unit and gathered substantial experience in flying in challenging operating conditions.
On 16 Aug 2002, Sqn Ldr Sanjay Bharadwaj and Flt Lt M Trikha were tasked with one such air maintenance mission. Sqn Ldr Sanjay Bharadwaj along with his co-pilot Flt Lt M Trikha took off in their Cheetah (SA-315) helicopter and reached the supply area over Siachen. As the supply area was prone to enemy ground fire, the pilots always faced extreme risks in undertaking missions in that area. Besides that, the extreme weather conditions in the area posed a serious threat to the missions very often. When Sqn Ldr Sanjay Bharadwaj and Flt Lt M Trikha reached the supply area, their Helicopter developed a serious technical snag and became uncontrollable. Eventually, the aircraft crashed and Sqn Ldr Sanjay Bharadwaj & Flt Lt M Trikha could not survive the crash. Sqn Ldr Sanjay Bharadwaj was a valiant air warrior and professionally competent pilot, who laid down his life at the age of 35 years in the line of his duty.