Bread Bombing in Jaffna in 1987

An interesting first person account of a less remembered humanitarian mission to Jaffna in June 1987. The nitty gritties in planning and executing this “Bread Bombing” gives us an insight into how military missions are coordinated amongst different agencies.

1300 hrs, on 04th Jun 1987. The normally sedate HAL airport is buzzing with activity. It is lunch hour for most public sector employees. Even the Indian Oil bowsers along with their staff are out of view, busy with their lunch and totally unaware of how much depended on them. Five AN32s had landed without any prior notice, cloaked in secrecy. The level of secrecy kept the airport and its employees out of the information loop. After a hasty briefing under the wings of the AN 32, the EAGLE formation got airborne lead by Group Captain BK Sunder and Flight Lieutenant SR Swarup in the lead aircraft. On that sedate morning no one had any clue that history was in the making.

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Wg Cdr SR Swarup was commissioned into the t r a n s p o r t stream of IAF in Jun 1980. During his 25 years of service, he flew a number of types of aircraft ranging from gliders and microlight to AN32s and IL76. After hanging up his boots he flew with established airlines like Sahara and Indigo. For the last 10 years, Swarup has been a ‘Private Jet Pilot’ flying a Gulfstream 550 with Aditya Birla Group as their Chief Pilot and Head of Operations. In an aviation career spanning 40 years, he has over 12000 hours of flying experience.