87th IAF Day: Wg Cdr Abhinandan, Balakot Heroes Perform Fly-Past

As the Indian Air Force completed 87 glorious years on Tuesday, 8 October, Air Force Day was celebrated with an air show at the Hindan Air Force Station in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad.

Newly-appointed IAF chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, while addressing the parade, said that the Indian Air Force is grateful for the nation's trust and confidence and the support that is provided from all across.

"“On behalf of all air warriors, I assure the nation of our sacred resolve, defending the sovereignty of our skies and safeguarding our national interest at all cost.”" - Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, Air Chief Marshal

The spectacular air display showcased both vintage aircraft and India’s modern fleet.

The event was attended by the chiefs of the three security forces. Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was also among the audience.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed gratitude to the air warriors and their families for serving the nation.

“The Indian Air Force continues to serve India with utmost dedication and excellence,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.

The chiefs of three services, Army Chief Bipin Rawat, Indian Air Force Chief, RKS Bhadauria and Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh, paid their tributes at the National War Memorial earlier in the day.

Abhinandan, Balakot Heroes Take Part in Parade

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman flew a MiG 21 Bison Aircraft over the Air Force Day parade. With him, three Mirage 2000 aircraft and two Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft flew in the ‘Avenger formation’. These planes were flown by pilots who took part in Balakot air strike.

Fighter Pilots who took part in Balakot air strikes were included in the parade as a mark of tribute to the teams that carried out the strike on 26 February and thwarted the Pakistani aerial attack on 27 February 2019.

The parade is the first time IAF displayed its newly-inducted Apache and Chinook helicopters in full action.

The IAF was founded on 8 October 1932 and the force has participated in several crucial wars and landmark missions. Air Force Day is celebrated to mark the establishment of the Indian Air Force on this day in 1932 by the British.

"The IAF will proudly celebrate its 87th anniversary. A scintillating air display by various aircrafts will be the hallmark of the Air Force Day parade-cum-investiture ceremony at the Hindan Air Force Station in Ghaziabad," a senior IAF official had earlier told PTI.

"“The air display will commence with flag-bearing sky divers of the famous Akash Ganga team dropping out of an AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies. The flypast would include the vintage aircraft, modern transport aircraft and frontline fighter aircraft.”" - IAF Official

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The ceremony will conclude with a spellbinding aerobatic display, he said. The general area over which the aircraft will be flying at low levels are Wazirpur Bridge, Karawalnagar, Afjalpur, Hindan; Shaml, Jiwana, Chandinagar, Hindan; Hapur, Philkua , Ghaziabad, Hindan, the IAF said.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Kargil conflict in which the IAF as part of Operation Safed Sagar of Army’s Operation Vijay had played a critical role.

The air display will commence with flag-bearing sky divers of the famous Akash Ganga team dropping out of an AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies, an Air Force official said. The flypast would include vintage and modern transport aircraft and frontline fighters, the official added.

The ceremony will conclude with a spell-binding aerobatic display. Every year, the Air Force Day is celebrated at Hindon base in presence of IAF chief and senior officials of the three armed forces.

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(With inputs from PTI and The Times of India)

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