Service No : 06262-F
Date of Birth : January 18, 1986
Place of birth : Visakhapatnam, AP
Last Rank : Commander
Unit : INS Vikramaditya
Arm/Regt : Indian Navy
Awards : Nao Sena Medal
Martyrdom : November 26, 2020
Commander Nishant Singh was born on 18 Jan 1986 at Naval Hospital INHS Kalyani in Vishakhapatnam. Son of a Naval officer Cdr Yash Vir Singh (Retd) and Smt Promila Singh, he grew up in various Naval bases, imbibing the culture and ethos of Indian Navy. Cdr Nishant aspired to follow in the footsteps of his father and don Naval uniform since his younger days. He studied at Navy Children Schools in Goa and Vishakhapatnam, where the foundation of his future Naval career was laid. His dream came true when he got commissioned into the Executive branch of the Indian Navy on 01 July 2008 at the age of 22 years.
Subsequently he joined Naval Aviation and got trained as a fighter pilot. He soon developed into an ace pilot and became a qualified flying instructor adept on Kiran, Hawk and Mig-29K aircraft. He also had the distinction of earning the 'Wings of Gold' after advance strike training with the US Navy, in December 2011. By the year 2020, he had been promoted to the rank of Commander and had served in various Naval bases in over 12 yeas of service. Besides being one of its most accomplished aviators, Cdr Nishant was also a qualified mountaineer as well as a skilled yachtsman. In May 2020, while seeking permission from his Commanding Officer to get married to Ms Nayaab Randhawa, Cdr Nishant's humor-laden letter titled “Permission to bite the bullet” had caught the imagination of many in social media.
MiG 29K Crash: 26 Nov 2020
During Nov 2020, Cdr Nishant was serving with at INS Hansa the Naval base at Goa. He was serving with the Indian Navy’s famed “Black Panther” squadron flying MiG-29K aircraft operating from the aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya. The Naval fighter pilots like Cdr Nishant managed the additional complexity of landing their machines on a moving aircraft carrier deck by snagging the “tailhook” to arresting high-tensile wires, after having approached the deck at exactly the right angle. All strategizing and coordination had to happen in a matter of seconds and demanded a very high order of flying skills. Being an accomplished flying instructor, Cdr Nishant would often fly with young pilots in a trainer aircraft to give them experience on various air operations.
Cdr Nishant was flying one such mission on 26 Nov 2020 in a two seater MiG-29K along with a young pilot. Soon after getting airborne at about 1627 hours on 26 Nov from INS Vikramaditya off Goa coast post international exercise 'Malabar 2020' with the US Navy, his MiG-29K encountered an abrupt and uncontrolled nose-down movement. After retracting the undercarriage, the attitude aggravated to further nose down. Despite Cdr Nishant's resilient attempt to counter the same with stick-back movement, the aircraft continued to pitch down rapidly with a rate of descent of almost 15000 feet/minute at extremely low altitudes close to water. As a result Cdr Nishant and his trainee pilot were experiencing negative gravity conditions due to the rapid pitch-down of the aircraft. With remote chances of any further recovery, Cdr Nishant took the extreme step of selfless sacrifice to save his trainee pilot, despite being fully aware of his impending death. The Indian Navy launched massive search operations, deploying nine warships, 14 aircraft and fast interceptor craft. The young pilot was rescued but Cdr Nishant could not be saved and his body was recovered 11 days after the mishap on 07 December in the Arabian Sea, 70 metres below water and 30 miles off the Goa coast. Cdr Nishant Singh was a gallant soldier and committed Naval fighter pilot, who laid down his life in the line of his duty.
Cdr Nishant Singh was awarded "Nao Sena Medal" (Gallantry) posthumously for his dauntless courage and selfless actions in dire circumstances. Cdr Nishant Singh is survived by his father Cdr Yash Vir Singh (Retd), mother Smt Promila Singh and wife Smt Nayaab Randhawa.