Service No : 31131-K

Place of birth : Ambala Dist (Haryana)

Last Rank : Squadron Leader

Unit : 154 HU AF

Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force

Operation : CI & IS Ops

Awards : Vayu Sena Medal

Martyrdom : February 27, 2019

Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht VM

Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht hailed from Hamidpur village in Naraingarh block of Ambala district in Haryana. Son of an Ex-serviceman Jagdish Kasal, he was the youngest and the only son among four siblings. Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht was a fourth-generation officer as his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father too served in the armed forces. Of his two maternal uncles, who served in the IAF, the younger one, Wg Cdr Vineet Bharadwaj, also lost his life in a MiG 21 crash in February 2002. Sqn Ldr Sidharth nursed the dream of joining the Air Force since his childhood taking inspiration from his uncles.


Sqn Ldr Sidharth completed his schooling at Shivalik Public School in Chandigarh and later got graduated from DAV College, Chandigarh. After graduating, he pursued his dream and got selected to join the Air Force through the Combined Defence Services Examination. He was commissioned in the IAF in the flying branch on 19 June 2010 and got trained as a Helicopter pilot as a part of the 185th Pilots' Course. After serving for some time, he got married to an Air Force officer Aarti Singh in 2013, and the couple had a son, Angad. He soon gained proficiency in flying skills and got promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader on 19 June 2016. Subsequently, he proved his mettle in various operations including the rescue operations during the Kerala floods in 2018. By 2019, Sqn Ldr Sidharth had put in about eight years of service in the IAF and evolved into an ace helicopter pilot having expertise in various air operations.


Mi-17 Air Mission: 27 Feb 2019

During Feb 2019, Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht was serving with 154 HU based at Srinagar. 154 HU was raised in the year 2012 at Srinagar with the motto of "Apatsu Mitram" meaning "A friend in time of need". The unit was operating the Mi-17 V-5 helicopter, the most advanced variant of the Mi-17 family operated by the IAF, and was fitted with a full glass cockpit, advanced avionics, weather radar, and powerful Klimov VK2500 engines delivering 2,700 hp each. The Mi-17 V-5 could also be flown at night as its cockpit was Night Vision Goggle (NVG) compatible. The twin-engine helicopter was capable of single-engine flight and landing. It could achieve a top speed of 250 kmph and a cruise speed of 220-230 kmph. Mi-17 V-5s could also undertake armed missions for which they could be fitted with four pylons to carry suspended pods with 23mm cannons and 250 rounds each, up to 80 S-8 80mm unguided aerial rockets and bombs. Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht's unit was responsible for undertaking air transport and logistics operations in support of the Army as well as IAF operations in J & K.

On 27 Feb 2019, the unit was tasked with one more such mission in support of ongoing joint operations of the Army and IAF in J&K. Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht as a captain was detailed for an air support mission with Sqn Ldr Ninad Mandavgane as his co-pilot and other aircrew including Sgt Vikrant Sahrawat, Sgt Vishal Kumar Pandey, Cpl Deepak Pandey and Cpl Pankaj Kumar  The crew after having gone through their preparatory checks got ready to take off as per the operational plan on 27 Feb 2019.  The Mi-17 V-5 aircraft (ZP-5220) took off as planned at 1000 hrs but soon after flying for nearly 10 minutes crashed in an open field near Garend Kalaan village in Budgam district about 10 km from the Srinagar International Airport. The helicopter broke into pieces and caught fire which made it impossible to save the crew members. All six valiant air warriors could not survive and laid down their lives in the service of the nation. Subsequent investigation revealed that the ill-fated Mi-17 V-5 was hit by the SPYDER ("Surface-to-air Python and Derby"), the IAF's short and medium-range mobile air defence system, in an operationally charged environment by mistake. Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht was a committed air warrior and an officer par excellence who displayed grit, determination, and devotion to duty during every operation he was assigned. Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht was awarded with “Vayu Sena Medal" posthumously for his courage, professional competence, and supreme sacrifice. 


Sqn Ldr Sidharth Vashisht is survived by his wife Sqn Ldr Aarti Singh, son Angad, parents, and three sisters.

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  • Jithamanyu Thoppey

    2024 at 10:29 am Reply

    Salute to your braveheart for putting country before one’s own life! Thank you for everything you have sacrificed to serve our country. I’m extremely grateful every day for martyrs like you who put their lives on the line. JAI HIND

  • Wing Commander Deepak datta

    2024 at 10:30 am Reply

    Salute to the young air warrior who laid his life in line of duty.RIP.

  • Molik Sharma

    2024 at 10:31 am Reply

    Salute to you and your crew sir.
    Martyrdom wont go in vain.

  • Air Cmde Ram Mohan Sridharan VM AF Veteran

    2024 at 10:35 am Reply

    Air Cmde RM Sridharan VM AF Veteran – Very Proud of this Air Warrior !! Being a MI-17 Pilot myself, He & his entire crew carried out their Gallant Mission under Trying Circumstances to be the Beacon for the entire Helicopter Fleet Of The Indian Air Force in the same manner as the MI-17 shot down by Shoulder Launched Missile in the Kargil Operations !! Salute You & JAI HIND !!

  • Satish Vashishta

    2024 at 10:36 am Reply

    I am Satish Chander Vashishta an unfortunate CHACHA of Siddharth (BUNNY).
    Really we all miss you badly but we are proud of you martyrdom my dear Bunny.
    We all salute you

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