Service No : 27472 F(P)
Date of Birth : 1981
Place of birth : Dwarka, New Delhi
Last Rank : Wing Commander
Unit : 157 HU AF
Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Martyrdom : October 6, 2017
Wing Commander Vikas Upadhyay hailed from Dwarka in New Delhi and was born in the year 1981. He completed his training from the National Defence Academy (102 Course) and went to the Air Force Academy for further training. He was commissioned into the Indian Air Force in June 2003. He got trained as a helicopter pilot and passed out as part of 171st Pilots' Course. On completing of his training he got posted to the field units, where he gained experience in operating various types of aircraft in his initial years of service.
By 2017, Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay had evolved into an ace helicopter pilot having expertise in various air operations. In 2017, he was serving with a helicopter unit based under Eastern Air Command of the IAF. Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay’s unit was operating MI-17 transport helicopter, extensively used for air transport and logistics operations. Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay got married to an Air Force officer S Tejaswini, who later retired as a Squadron Leader after completing her short service stint with the IAF.
Air Maintenance Operation: 06 Oct 2017
During October 2017, Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay was serving with 157 HU AF unit , equipped with Mi-17 V5 Helicopter and was based at Air Force Station Barrackpore in West Bengal. At that time a number of Indian army units were deployed at many far-flung areas in the northeast sector where no motorable roads existed. The most of the supplies to these units were dependent on airdrops, undertaken by Indian Air Force as Air Maintenance operations. Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay was tasked for one such air maintenance mission as captain of the aircraft on 6th October 2017. Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay had with him, Squadron Leader Shishir Tewari as his co-pilot, Master Warrant Officer A K Singh and Sergeant Satish Kumar as his flight gunners and Sergeant Gautam Kumar as the flight engineer. Besides the air crew two Army personnel Sepoy H N Deka and Sepoy E Balaji were also detailed to be part of the air maintenance mission.
Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay and Sqn Ldr Shishir Tewari along with five other personnel in their Mi-17 V5 helicopter took off from Khirmu helipad in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh on 06 Oct 2017. The flight path of the sortie was vulnerable to dangerous weather changes, but Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay and Sqn Ldr Shishir Tewari were experienced pilots and had handled many such situations earlier. As the aircraft was on Air maintenance sortie, it was carrying supplies to the forward posts in Topokhar near the Yangste area. This was the second air maintenance sortie of the day for the aircraft in that forward area. At around 6 AM , as the supplies were being dropped in the dropping zone about 120 kms north of Tawang, the net holding the jerry cans of kerosene being offloaded, got entangled in the aircraft’s rear rotor. As a result, the chopper caught fire instantly and crashed, giving no chance to the pilots to take any action. Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay and all other 6 on-board military personnel including Sqn Ldr Shishir Tewari, MWO A K Singh, Sgt Satish Kumar, Sgt Gautam Kumar, Sep H N Deka and Sep E Balaji, could not survive the crash.
Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay was a professionally competent pilot and a committed soldier, who laid down his life in the service of the nation. Wg Cdr Vikas Upadhyay is survived by his wife Sqn Ldr S Tejaswini (Retd) and daughter Aadya.