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Sadhu, Sukhois and Surya Kiran

Last updated on: October 09, 2003 01:22 IST


Indigenisation was one of the themes that Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy focussed on during his speech on the occasion of the IAF's 71st anniversary.

The IAF is strongly backing the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's efforts to develop a Light Attack Helicopter, he said, adding the Intermediate Jet Trainer project is progressing so well that it can be developed into Advanced Jet Trainer.

Also see: IAF: Flying High at 71

The mission computer of Su-30 is indigenously developed, the IAF chief pointed out, adding that "it is the right time for the private sector" to enter the defence industry.


The Grand Old Man

Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh was a happy man today. Clad in his ceremonial attire, the grand old man of the IAF, who was a heroic pilot during his service tenure, was amazed to see midair refuelling. "It is tough, but it is a great capability."



Military celebrations in this part of the world often have an anachronistic feel to them -- elaborate curtains form the background, with tacky cut-outs of aircraft often lining on top of them.

The IAF parade, too, had its share.

In fact, as the parade progressed at least one of the defence attaches of a foreign country was fast asleep with his mouth wide open. He woke up as fighter jets sliced through the sky.


A Holy Presence

Seated in front among the VIPs, and escorted on both sides by two elegant women, was a guru. Some reporters who approached him said he didn't disclose his identity. But an army soldier on duty remarked, "The BJP government has so many sadhus... it could be even one of the ministers!"


The Icing on the Cake

The event closed with a breathtaking display by the daredevils of the Surya Kiran aerobatics team led by Wing Commander Kuldip Malik.

The nine Kiran Mark II aircraft put up a sterling show. When two planes passed each other at high speed, with hardly nine meters between them, the crowd really got going.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier

Josy Joseph in New Delhi