Lieutenant Commander Saurabh Tiwari was born to a retired Naval officer Commodore Vijay K Tiwari. Lieutenant Commander Saurabh followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Indian Navy. He was trained as a fighter pilot and got posted to the Sea Harrier squadron of the Navy. In 2007, he was serving with INAS 300 aboard INS Viraat, operating Sea Harrier aircraft, the only aircraft capable of operating from India’s aircraft carrier at that time.
|Date of Martyrdom||5th April 2007|
On 5th April 2007, Lieutenant Commander Saurabh and Commander Vikram Menon were assigned the task of undertaking a mission. The Sea Harrier was fitted with an anti-ship Sea Eagle missile providing the stand-off range anti-ship capability to the fleet. Besides, the fighters were also capable of firing rockets and dropping bombs inshore bombardment roles or inaction against the lightly armed ships. Several missions were planned as per the part of this training. As planned, they took off in their Trainer fighter aircraft 651 in the morning. However soon after the take-off the aircraft developed a technical glitch and the pilots decided to eject. After Commander Vikram Menon and Lieutenant Commander Saurabh ejected the aircraft burst into flames and crashed into the Arabian sea. While Commander Menon was rescued, Lieutenant Commander Saurabh could not be traced. A massive search operation was launched with Naval ships Betwa, Nireekshak, Alleppey, Bitra, SDB 55 along with clearance diving unit of Goa and National Hydro school taking part in the search operation. The body of Lieutenant Commander Saurabh was finally recovered after ten days from the sea off Grandi Island.
Lieutenant Commander Saurabh Tiwari was a committed officer and professionally competent Naval pilot who laid down his life in the service of the nation.