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IAF turns 77, celebrates in style

Last updated on: October 8, 2009 17:41 IST

IAF turns 77, celebrates in style

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The Indian Air Force on Thursday celebrated its 77th anniversary with a breathtaking display of air power by its frontline fighter aircrafts, followed by a thrilling aerobatics performance by its Surya Kiran and Sarang teams.

The IAF was officially established on October 8, 1932, as an auxiliary air force of the Indian Empire and the prefix Royal was added in 1945 in recognition of its services during the World War II.

After India achieved independence from the British in 1947, the prefix Royal was dropped and replaced by the word Indian. 

The Air Force displayed its air power with 54 frontline fighter aircraft such as Russian-origin Sukhois, French Mirage-2000s, British deep penetration strike Jaguars, apart from vintage MiG-21s and MiG-27s and Mi-17 transport and Mi-35 attack helicopters from several airbases across north India participating in the flying display over the skies of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

 


Image: Suryakiran jet trainers perform during the Indian Air Force Day celebrations
Photographs: Vijay Mathur/Reuters
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As in the previous years, the star attraction of this year's parade was the IAF's 'Surya Kiran' aerobatics team, only the third such nine-aircraft formation flying team, on their Kiran MkII trainer aircraft and the 'Sarang' helicopter aerobatics team flying four 'Dhruv' Advanced Light Helicopters.

Both Sarang and the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team (SKAT) enthralled the audience with their display of synchronized low level manoeuvring in close formation.

 


Image: Suryakiran jet trainers perform during the Indian Air Force Day celebrations
Photographs: Vijay Mathur/Reuters
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Organised by the Western Air Command under its chief Air Marshal N A K Browne, the precursor to the parade was the air warriors from the 'Akashganga' para-jumping team jumping off an AN-32 aircraft from an height of 5,000 feet, opening up their colourful parachutes to lit up the skies.

The parade was led by Group Captain S.K Vidhate and comprised 30 officers and 213 air warriors.

The 28-member rifle drill team's performance with a motto Drill to Thrill was a treat to the eyes.

The air warrior's precision training, discipline and rigours was brought out by a drill team that performed spellbinding exercises using their bayonet-fitted rifles.

 


Image: IAF soldiers stand in formation
Photographs: Vijay Mathur/Reuters
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IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik also presented 55 decorations, including two Vayu Sena Medals and five Sena Medals, both for gallantry, apart from 15 Vayu Sena Medals and 32 Vishist Seva Medals to officers and airmen, of which four was bravery exhibited during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks last year.

The fighter fly past was be led by three Jaguars in Vic formation closely followed by Vic formation of three each Bison (Mig-21), Baaz (Mig-29), Vajra (Mirage 2000) aircraft and a SU-30 MKI aircraft.

One Sukhoi aircraft of the formation then carried out four turn in Vertical Charlie maneuver.

 


Image: Advanced light helicopters display team Sarang gives a stunning performance
Photographs: Vijay Mathur/Reuters
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For the first time since its induction this year, 'Phalcon' Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) was showcased as the pride of possession by the IAF at its anniversary parade held at the Hindon airbase.

The Israeli-made eye-in-the-sky radar mounted on Russian IL-76 airframe was displayed during the fly past that marked the 77th Air Force Day.

AWACS provides the IAF the capability to keep a close watch on enemy aircraft and missiles taking off from their bases, even as it flies far away from the border, and helps in directing Indian fighter aircraft and air defence counter measures to the incoming threats.

 


Image: IAF surface to air missiles are displayed, as an IAF IL-76 aircraft configured with the new AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) prepares to land
Photographs: Vijay Mathur/Reuters
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AGENCIES