NEW DELHI :
Anti-satellite weapon ‘Shakti’, lethal artillery gun ‘Dhanush’, and newly-inducted helicopters Apache and Chinook were among the key military assets showcased by India for the first time at the Republic Day parade on Sunday.
Scaled down models of IAF’s Rafale aircraft and Indian Navy’s Kolkata-class stealth destroyer and a Kalvari-class submarine were also displayed during the ceremonial event.
A marching contingent of the Corps of Army Air Defence was also part for parade for the first time.
In the mechanised columns, three indigenously-developed battle tank T-90 Bhishma, three Ballaway Machine Pikate, three K-9 Vajra gun system, two transportable satellite terminal (TST) and two Akash surface-to-air-missiles, were also showcased.
The Apache and Chinook were among the main attractions as they flew across the clear blue sky, leaving the spectators spellbound.
The helicopters, transport aircraft C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemasters, drew loud cheers from people as they showed their aerial manoeuvres.
US-made Chinook, twin-engine, tandem rotor is a multi-role, vertical-lift platform, which is used for transporting troops, artillery, equipment and fuel. Four Chinooks were inducted into the IAF in March last year.
Eight US-made Apache stealth attack helicopters were inducted into the IAF in September last year, significantly boosting the force’s firepower capability.
The three Chinooks flew in ‘vic’ formation followed by the Apache, the latest attack helicopters of the Indian Air Force. Five Apache helicopters flew past the huge crowd in ‘arrowhead’ formation.
Boeing India President Salil Gupte said it was an “incredible honour” for the US firm that three of Boeing’s state-of-the-art defence platforms, the C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter, AH-64E Apache attack helicopter and CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopter were part of the flypast parade on India’s Republic Day.
“There couldn’t have been a better day to showcase the might of these flying machines that help the Indian Air Force command the skies. Boeing has been a strong partner in the modernisation and enhancement of operational capabilities of India’s defence forces. We remain committed to this partnership,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by Boeing India.
Around 40 aircraft of the IAF and four helicopters of the Army’s aviation arm took part in the Republic Day flypast.
After Apache came the ‘Eye in the Sky- Netra’ formation, comprising a single AEW&C flanked by two Su-30 MKIs. Thereafter, three C-17 Globemasters, in ‘displaced trail vic’ formation called ‘Globe’ formation flew past the dais, showcasing the IAF’s heavy lift capabilities.
Besides Rafale, the IAF tableau also depicted scaled-down models four other systems recently added to its inventory — indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), surface-to-air guided weapon Aakash missile and Astra missiles.
The Navy’s tableau also showcased model of country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant with MiG-29K aircraft and depicted the force’s humanitarian assistance during the Maharashatra floods last year.