The origin of the Western Air Command can be traced back to the nascent years of independent India, when the various formations of the Air Force were organised into two groups. These were the No 1 Operational Group which controlled all the flying units including the flying training units and the No2 Training Group responsible for the entire spectrum of training activities (except flying training) in the IAF.
On 22nd July 1949 the No 1 Operational Group was re-designated as the Operational Command. The Air Officer Commanding the Operational Command was then of the rank of an Air Commodore. This was upgraded to the rank of Air Vice Marshal in 1958 and later to the rank of Air Marshal. The Command assumed its present name of Headquarters Western Air Command on 10th June 1963, primarily as a consequence of formation of other operational commands and demarcation of specific areas of responsibility.
Headquarters Western Air Command , located at Subroto Park , New Delhi, has over 200 bases placed under its command and has been involved in all major operations in India since independence. Due to its geographical location the Command has always been the hub-centre of all operational activities during any operation. Some of the major operations handled are Kashmir Operations 1947-48, Sino-Indian Conflict 1962, Indo-Pak War 1965, Indo-Pak War 1971, Operation Pawan 1986 (Sri Lanka) and Operation Safed Sagar 1999 (Kargil).