Wing Commander Ravi Khanna was born on a New Year’s eve on 31 Dec 1964. He was inclined to join the Armed Forces since his school days and eventually got selected for the prestigious NDA after his schooling and joined the 69th Course. He got selected for the Indian Air Force and was commissioned into the IAF on 06 Dec 1986 at the age of 22 years. He joined the flying stream of the IAF and got trained as a fighter pilot as part of 138th Pilots' Course. After completing his flying training, he served with various flying squadrons located at different Air Force bases.
He got promoted to the rank of Flt Lt on 06 Dec 1991 and subsequently as Squadron Leader became a flying Instructor at Flying Instructors' School Tambaram in the year 1997. Later in the year 2002, he got posted to 14 Sqn and took over as Flight Commander. Thereafter in May 2003, he got promoted to the rank of Wing Commander and was posted as the Commanding Officer of one of the prestigious Fighter Squadrons of the IAF nicknamed ‘Dragons’ with effect from 23 Jul 2003.
Wg Cdr Khanna was known to be a thorough professional who led his squadron very well in all spheres of activities. Under his leadership, the unit not only accomplished all assigned tasks to perfection, but it also set exemplary standards for others to emulate. During the exercise "Eklavya 2003", his Squadron bagged five trophies out of a total of seven and was adjudged overall best in the gunnery meet. Leading from the front, the Dragons came first in three-team events of which he led one and participated in another. Under his command, the squadron was declared the ‘best Fighter Squadron’ in the Indian Air Force. By the year 2004, Wg Cdr Khanna had put in over 18 years of service and developed into a dedicated and professionally competent air warrior.
Aircraft Crash : 26 Feb 2004
During 2004, Wg Cdr Ravi Khanna was serving as Commanding Officer of 6 Squadron, one of the ten senior squadrons of the Indian Air Force. It was was formed under the command of Squadron Leader Mehar Singh, on 1st of Dec 1942 at Jamnagar. Later it moved to Pune in 1951 and remained there in the following years. In 2004, as Commanding Officer of the unit, Wg Cdr Khanna took the Squadron to participate in the prestigious exercise "Vayu Shakti ’04". On that clear and cold morning of 26 Feb 04, Wg Cdr Ravi Khanna was to fly as No. 3 in a four aircraft formation that was to drop a 1000 pound retarded bomb over Pokhran Range in Rajasthan as part of a battle inoculation exercise.
On 26 Feb 2004, Wg Cdr Ravi Khanna took off for the mission as planned and reached over the designated area. As per the combat mission plan, he located the target and released the bomb. However the bomb exploded in the air very close to the aircraft causing extensive damage to the aircraft. Wg Cdr Khanna could not eject and suffered serious injuries. He soon succumbed to his injuries and was martyred. Wg Cdr Ravi Khanna was a professionally competent fighter pilot and a committed air warrior who laid down his life in the line of his duty. Wg Cdr Ravi Khanna was awarded the "Vayu Sena Medal" for his exceptional devotion to duty and supreme sacrifice.