New Delhi: Two newly inducted Rafale fighter jets will part of 2021 Republic Day flypast in the national capital. This is the first time that these fighter jets will be part of the Republic Day event.
They will be part of two different formations and the name of the mixed formation in which the first Rafale will take part is Eklavya. Interestingly, the name of the last formation that will see a single Rafale is “Brahmastra”, which means weapons that can destroy everything and named after it.
An Indian Air Force spokesperson, Wing Commander Indranil Nandi PRO said, “There will be a mixed formation. Single rafale, flanked by two Jaguar and two MiG 29. And single Rafale will carry out vertical Charlie.”
Vertical Charlie is a manoeuvre in which fighter jets fly at a low height, and pitch vertically, followed by a succession of roles before stabilizing. In all, 38 IAF aircraft will be part of the grand parade.
India had inducted the fighter jets in two batches in 2020 amid fanfare. Under the 2016 agreement worth Rs 59,000 crore, India will get 36 Rafales. The first five Rafales were inducted at Ambala airbase on September 10, 2020, in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and French Defence Minister Florence Parly.
As is traditionally the case, the spokesperson also told news agency PTI that the flypast will be divided into two blocks–the first is planned along with the parade from 1004 hours to 1020 hours and the second after the parade from 1120 hours to 1145 hours. In the first block, there will be three formations. The first will be the ‘Nishan’ formation comprising of four Mi17V5 aircraft that will carry the national flag and logos of all three services, Nandi said. It will be followed by the ‘Dhruv’ formation by four helicopters of Army Aviation Corps, he said.
The last would be the ‘Rudra’ formation which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country’s victory in the 1971 war, he said, adding that it will consist of a single Dakota aircraft flanked by two Mi17V5 helicopters.
On December 16, 2020, India launched year-long celebrations of its victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh. Nandi said the second block of the flypast will consist of nine formations. These nine formations are ‘Sudarshan’, ‘Rakshak’, ‘Bhim’, ‘Netra’, ‘Garuda’, ‘Eklavya’, ‘Trinetra’, ‘Vijay’ and ‘Brahmastra’, he said.
Wing Commander Tej Pratap Pandey said models of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and indigenously developed anti-tank guided missile Dhruvastra will feature in the IAF’s Republic Day parade tableaus. “It (tableaus) will showcase scaled-down models of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Sukhoi-30Mki and Rohini radar,” he said.
Indigenously developed next-generation anti-radiation missile Rudram and anti-tank guided missile Dhruvastra will be displayed on the LCA and the LCH respectively, Pandey said. Sukhoi-30Mki will display indigenously developed Astra and Brahmos missiles, he said.
Indigenously developed Akash missile will be displayed along with the Rohini radar, he added.
Wing Commander Vasudev Ahuja said the IAF’s marching contingent at the parade will consist of four officers and 96 soldiers marching in a box formation of 12 rows and eight columns. The marching contingent will be led by Flight Lieutenant Tanik Sharma and three supernumerary officers — Flight Lieutenant Manjeet Singh, Flight Lieutenant Apoorva Yadav and Flying Officer Kuttapa.
with additional inputs from news agency PTI