By Sangeeta Saxena & Chaitali BagAir Force Station, Chandigarh, India. 08 October 2022. The Indian Air Force turned 90 amidst positive news of disengagement at LAC, Agniveers all set to enter the force, LCH having got inducted into the fleet and no lack of spares despite the war between Russia-Ukraine. But for the first time in a decade and second time in history the venue of the celebration – the annual parade shifted from NCR. From Palam to Hindon and now to the city of Chandigarh. But this did not deter either the spirits or the élan. India’s air power roared in the skies above the beautiful capital of Haryana & Punjab reiterating preparedness of the force to tackle war on both the fronts and if need be on the third front, was the message given to the world.
To mark the occasion and in keeping up with the tradition, IAF organised a parade cum drill and a small air display with an equally small static display on the Atmanirbharbharat and Make-in-India theme. But this is not because the displays had suddenly shrunk but because the actual airdisplay to commemorate the event will be a formidable show of air prowess over Sukhna Lake Chandigarh with President of the nation who is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces witnessing it.
Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary, Chief of the Air Staff reviewed the parade where the air warriors march passed in clockwork precision and synchrony. This was followed by the breath taking display by the Air Warrior Drill Team, wherein the team showcased their weapon handling skills and carried out diverse manoeuvers with their rifles. Various dignitaries and veterans participated in the celebrations.
The only announcement which was new and not a repeat of the annual press conference was the creation of a weapon systems branch for the IAF. The central government has approved the creation of a weapon system branch for the officers of the Indian Air Force, which would save it $410 million or INR 3,400 crore in flying training, said Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari.
He said this is the first time since Independence that a new operational branch is being created. The new branch will essentially man the specialised streams of surface- to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles, remotely piloted aircraft, and weapon system operators in twin and multi-crew aircraft, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on the ocassion, “On Air Force Day, my greetings to the courageous air warriors and their families. In line with the motto of नभः स्पृशं दीप्तम्, the Indian Air Force has shown exceptional dexterity for decades. They have secured the nation and also shown remarkable human spirit during disasters.”