Hyderabad: Former IAF Chief Air Chief
Marshal(retd) Denis Anthony Lafontaine, a fighter pilot who
played a key role in 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars, died of
heart attack today at his home in Medak district in Andhra
He was 82 and is survived by his wife and three
daughters. Lafontaine headed the Indian Air Force(IAF) for
three years from July 1985.
President Pratibha Patil condoled the death of
Lafontaine, calling him a man of "new thinking" and
"innovations". Lafontaine was cremated in his native village
in the evening.
In her condolence message to Lafontaine`s wife, Patil
said he oversaw major inductions in the IAF.
"A fighter pilot, his tenure at the helm saw major
type inductions in the IAF, including the Dassault Mirage-2000
and MiG-29. Air Chief Marshal La` Fontaine was known for his
innovations and new thinking that led to improvement in the
quality of training of pilots in the IAF.
"One of the first pilots of the IAF to fly jet
fighter, his various assignments gave him a variety of
experiences that he used well while heading the IAF from July
1985 to July 1988," Patil said.
Lafontaine was born in Chennai on September 17, 1929.
His grandfather as well as his father had served in the Indian
He joined IAF as a fighter pilot in 1950 and rose in
to become its 13th Chief in July 1985.
He was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal (VSM), Ati-Vishisht
Seval Medal and Param-Vishisht Seva Medal during his
Lafontaine had been staying at his home near
Brahmanapalli village in Medak district since his retirement.
Medak district Collector S Suresh Kumar laid a
wreath on Lafontaine`s body on behalf of AP government and