The Indian Air Force (IAF)’s newly inducted Rafale jet, Apache and Chinook helicopters made a fly-past debut in the 88th Air Force Day parade at the Hindon Air Base in Gaziabad today.
“The recent induction of Rafale, Chinook and Apache aircraft significantly enhanced our combat capability over adversaries,” IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said.
The Air Force Day is celebrated to mark the day the IAF was established in 1932. The IAF came into force as the Royal Indian Air Force under then British rule. The name was changed to Indian Air Force in 1950.
A Rafale jet carried out a minimum radius turn within an area smaller than a hockey field. It formed an “eight.” The fighter exhibited various manoeuvres during the parade. “Vijay” formation was made with Rafale Jet in the lead, flanked by Mirage and Jaguar fighters.
Two CH-47 Chinook rotorcraft took part in flypast to mark the 88th IAF Day. Flares were fired by the “Eklavya” formation including AH-64 Apache and Mi-35 gunships.
In all, 56 aircraft are expected to take part in this year’s parade, including 19 fighters, 19 helicopters, seven transport aircraft, seven aircraft of the Suryakiran aerobatic team and two vintage aircraft. In addition, 19 aircraft would be airborne and on standby for any requirement, The Hindu reported citing an IAF officer.
On the ground, 11 aircraft; and Rohini and Akash air defence systems, would be on static display.
In a full dress rehearsal Tuesday, Rafale, Tejas LCA, Jaguar, Mig-29, Mig-21 and Sukhoi-30 aircraft took part.