The history of AD Artillery in India began in 1939, during the Second World War, when the British Government was forced to raise AD units in India to counter the Japanese air threat in SE Asia. Few Indian troops were trained in the use of the 3-inch Ack-Ack gun and later the 40mm L/60 gun, as part of the Anti-aircraft (AA) Batteries of Hongkong and Singapore Royal Artillery (HKSRA) and Indian Artillery.
From 1941 onwards, the AA units and training establishments began to be raised in India with Indian Officers and men being posted into these establishments from the Regiment of Artillery and infantry units and later through fresh commission and enrolment.
The policy makers in Britain decided to retain the existing AA TA units for static role tasks and to raise new regular army AA units for the field armies. Consequently, the HAA units were raised for static role against High Altitude Bombers and the LAA units were raised for mobile role against low flying fighter aircraft.
The organization of AA units and formations evolved based on gun density requirement for the protection of various Vulnerable Points and Areas. AA defence was meant to be static and was deployed ‘en masse’ to deter, if not, destroy the enemy, who was also expected to come en mass for bombing of targets. Barrage fire dictated deployment of batteries in layers and rings, providing a form of area defence.
In Jul 1940, AA and Coast Defence Wings were established at Karachi for training of Indian Officers, JCOs and NCOs in the AA techniques. In Aug 1940, an important decision was taken by the British War Office to create an AA branch of Indian Artillery on the concept of TA. On 14 Sep 1940, one Indian AA Technical Training Battery was raised at Colaba, Bombay. It included nucleus of the first AA unit of Indian Artillery - the ‘R’ (Royal) HAA Regiment. In Jan 1941, Light AA unit called the ‘U’ LAA Regiment was raised at Malir Cantt (Now in Pakistan) and was equipped with L/60 guns. In Apr 1941, both of these units were re-named and thus ‘R’ HAA became 1 Indian HAA Regiment IA and ‘U’ LAA became 1 Indian LAA Regiment IA.
By 1942, when two AA training centers (AATC) were raised, there were eighteen AA regiments (ie nine HAA Regiments and nine LAA Regiments), four HQ AA Brigades, two Independent LAA Batteries and one Independent HAA Battery. By the year 1944, there were a total of 33 AD Artillery units. However, immediately after the Second World War, a large number of these units were disbanded. At the time of partition in 1947, only two AD Artillery units i.e. 26 LAA and 27 LAA Regiments came to India. Neither of the two oldest AA Establishment in India, i.e. I Training Battery and ‘R’ HAA Regiment survived into Independent India.
The post 1971 era, saw rapid modernisation and mechanization of AD Artillery. Many a state of art and latest weapon system were introduced into service during this period, with the TigerCat Msl System in 1972, the ZSU-23-4B Schilka in 1973, the ZU-23-2B guns in 1976, and the OSA-AK system was introduced in 1985-86. Subsequently the Igla SAM and the Strela-10M missiles were introduced during 1988-89.
One of the defining periods in the Corps history was from 1987 to 1994, when the following momentous events took place, resulting in a new identity for the AD Arty :-
• Move of AD Wing from School of Artillery from Devlali to Gopalpur and the establishment of Air Defence Guided Missile School (now rechristened as Army Air Defence College) at Gopalpur Military Station in Orissa during Dec 1989.• Fructification of the case for bifurcation from the Regiment of Artillery in Oct 1993, after protracted deliberations and dithering.
The Corps of AD Artillery came into its own on 10 Jan 1994. The Directorate General of Air Defence Artillery started functioning from the same day. Likewise, the AD Artillery branches at the various Command HQs also took birth. The ADGM School at Gopalpur started functioning as an autonomous entity and the AD Wing at Artillery Centre, Nasik Road Camp became the ADGM Centre.
The Corps of Air Defence Artillery has been re-designated as ‘Corps of Army Air Defence’ wef 18 Apr 2005.
The motto of Army AD is “AKASHE-SHATRUN JAHI”. The flag of Army AD has two horizontal bands of colours with sky blue colour on the upper half and the red colour at the bottom. The Sky blue colour signifies the background of blue sky against which the Army AD weapons have to operate and the Red colour symbolizes sacrifice and chivalry. The AD crest, designed by NID, Ahmedabad is placed in the centre of the flag, has a surface to air missile in the centre with two radar antennas on either side facing out-wards and emitting radiation.