Date of Birth : April 20, 1980
Place of birth : Bhuvanagiri (T'gana)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Lieutenant Colonel
Arm/Regt : Army Aviation Corps
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Martyrdom : March 16, 2023
Lt Col V Vijay Bhanu Reddy hailed from the Bommala Ramaram village in the Bhuvanagiri district of Telangana and was born on 20 April 1980. Son of Shri Narsimhma Reddy and Smt Vijayalakshmi, he had an elder brother as his sibling. He always wished to don the Army uniform since his younger days and eventually, got selected for National Defence Academy (NDA). He was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery, an important combat support arm of the Indian Army well known for its heavy field guns.
Later he opted for the Army Aviation Corps and got trained as a helicopter pilot, he got married to Ms. Spandana and the couple was blessed with two daughters. By the year 2023, he had served for over 20 years and had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. By then he had developed into a professionally competent Helicopter pilot with expertise in various air operations.
Cheetah Helicopter Air Mission: 16th Mar 2023
During Mar 2023, Lt Col V Vijay Bhanu Reddy was serving with an Army Aviation Sqn based in Assam. The Squadron was operating a Cheetah helicopter, a single-engine helicopter, of 1970s vintage derived from the French Alouette. The Cheetah Helicopter was known to be a high-performance helicopter designed for operation over a very wide range of weight, the center of gravity, and altitude conditions. The five-seater Cheetah helicopter was versatile, multi-role, multi-purpose, highly maneuverable, and rugged in construction. It was suitable for commuting, observation, surveillance, logistics support, rescue operations, and high-altitude missions. Lt Col VVB Reddy and his co-pilot Maj Jayanth were tasked with one such high-altitude mission on 16 Mar 2023. The crew took off in their Cheetah Helicopter to carry out the assigned task as per the operational plan.
As the Helicopter was en-route from Missamari in Assam to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, it developed a serious snag that the aircraft became uncontrollable. Lt Col VVB Reddy and Maj Jayanth were experienced pilots with substantial flying experience but did not get adequate time to bring the aircraft under control. Consequently, the cheetah Helicopter crashed near Mandala in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. A massive rescue operation was launched by the Army along with the personnel of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). However, Lt Col VVB Reddy and Maj Jayanth got severely injured during the crash and later succumbed to their injuries and were martyred. The wreckage of the helicopter was eventually found in the forested hills of the Mandala near Bangjalep village, around 40 km northwest of Bomdilla. Lt Col VVB Reddy was a committed soldier and a competent pilot, who laid down his life in the line of his duty.
Lt Col V Vijay Bhanu Reddy is survived by his father Shri Narsimhma Reddy, mother Smt Vijayalakshmi, wife Major Spandana (Serving as doctor in the Army) and two daughters.