Among the remarkable achievements of SWAC in recent times is the shooting down of a Pakistani Atlantique anti-submarine cum anti-ship warfare and maritime reconnaissance aircraft on 10 Aug 1999. The aircraft had intruded into the Indian air space. It was challenged by IAF's MiG 21 aircraft. The Pakistani aircraft turned hostile and was shot down.
In view of the terrorist attack on the parliament on 13 Dec 01, all radars were immediately moved to their operational locations along the border and fighter aircraft were deployed at forward bases eg Naliya, Uttarlai, Jamnagar, Bhuj and Jaisalmer so as to ensure security of the region. This deployment known as Operation Parakram was the longest ever deployment during which many lessons were learnt with regard to endurance of men and machines, and smoother deployment in future.
Besides its operational commitments, SWAC has also contributed its might towards alleviation of suffering during times of natural calamities. With one stroke of nature's wrath Bhuj was devastated by a severe earthquake on the morning of 26 Jan 2001. Communication lines had snapped, cutting off the area from the rest of the world. Air Force Station Bhuj was also devastated. The Air Traffic Control building was destroyed. Yet, as an organisation, the IAF rose to the occasion and created an air bridge.
Relief measures were launched by SWAC within a few hours of the disaster. A team of medical and other personnel from HQ SWAC carrying medicines and relief material, led by the AOC-in-C, reached Bhuj at 1600 h on the same day. Disregarding their personal tragedies, the brave personnel of AF Station Bhuj worked round-the-clock to keep the base operational. Soon, Bhuj became the busiest airport in the country, aircraft landing or taking off every five minutes. Despite the lack of basic infrastructure, the biggest ever rescue and relief operation 'Op Vayu Sahayata' was accomplished by HQ SWAC and its units.
During 2005, in the wake of incessant and torrential rains, most parts of central and southern Gujarat had witnessed unprecedented flooding. As in the past, Indian Air Force came forward for the aid to civil authorities. A special flood relief cell was immediately made operational under the control of Senior Air Staff Officer at South Western Air Command Headquarters at Gandhinagar. The cell coordinated and carried out all flood relief operations including rescue missions in consultation with the civil authorities. The highlights of the flood relief operation are enumerated below. 1.6 tons of food was air dropped for 400-odd passengers of the Indore- Gandhinagar Shanti Express, stranded near Dakor. On 2nd July a rescue sortie was launched when the State Emergency Ops Centre requested for the rescue of two British Nationals and two Media persons from the highway near Nadiad. A Mi 8 helicopter was launched for the mission and they sighted a large number of personnel. After identifying the personnel, the two British personnel and six others which included TV crew of Aaj Tak were winched up and rescued. Information was received about some personnel marooned on trucks on a road that was washed away by the floods. The vigilant pilot noticed three trucks marooned in water. There were two / three survivors on each truck with the nearest land mass more than a kilometer away. On a closer survey it was revealed that the truck was gradually sinking and the personnel were in great danger of being drowned. The pilot decided to rescue the personnel by winching them up from each of the three trucks. Despite the odds of very few reference points to establish steady and accurate hover required for winching, the air crew of the helicopter managed to rescue all the nine personnel. Matching the enormity of the flood situation and taking advantage of better weather conditions, the IAF increased its air efforts and mounted altogether 70-odd sorties on 03 and 04 Jul 05, 44 of them ex- Ahmedabad and almost 26 from Baroda. Six Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters based at Ahmedabad carried out supply drop of 70 tons. Similarly, five helicopters located at Baroda air dropped nearly 44 tons of food and water bottles. To the marooned people of Gujarat facing the fury of torrential rains and worsening flood situation, these relief operation by IAF came as great succor and timely help.
An awareness campaign was conducted in Mumbai from 14th to 17th Oct 2004 followed by a recruitment rally from 18th Oct to 22nd Oct to recruit airmen from amongst the youth of Maharashtra. This Air Awareness Campaign was conducted jointly with Air India with the support of the Maharashtra State Government. This event is titled as the "Subroto Mukerjee and JRD Tata Memorial Event" since it commemorated two Indian Aviation pioneers, one who was the first Indian Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force 50 years ago and the other who made the first Indian civil flight from Karachi to Mumbai 70 years ago. The awareness campaign comprised the following events:-
Static Display at the Air India Technical Hangar at Sahara International Airport on 14 and 15 Oct 04.