Hindon, Ghaziabad, India. 08 October 2020 . The Indian Air Force turned 88 amidst clouds of geopolitical crisis created by China at the LAC and Pakistan trying to twitch its sagging muscles. But this did not deter neither the spirits nor the élan. India’s air power roared in the skies above the National Capital Region and 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 grand Parade cum Investiture Ceremony at Air Force Station Hindon (Ghaziabad), though the strength of visitors was less due the social distancing norms set by the nation as it combats COVID-19. 

Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, 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.

But the icing in the cake was the recently inducted Rafale fighter jets roaring in the sky and also standing majestically in the static display area. Indian  Rafale made an ‘8’ and  flew within a minimum radius turn in an area smaller than a hockey field while doing so. In addition to the Rafales the other  fighter jets including Sukhoi-30 MKI, Tejas LCA, Jaguar, Mig-29 and Mig-21 made a formidable statement in the skies.

 IAF’s helicopter fleet including Apache, Mi17V5, ALH Mark-4, Chinook, and Mi-35 also displayed splendour and created thunder. Flares were fired by the Eklavya formation including Apache and Mi-35 attack helicopters.

A total of 56 aircraft including 19 fighters, 7 transport aircraft , 9 Surya Kirans, 2 Vintage aircraft, along with 19 helicopters took part in the parade. 19 aircraft were on stand by in case the need arose. 11 aircraft formed the static display along with two Air Defence Systems Rohini and Akash.

The air display commenced with flag bearing sky divers of the Akash Ganga Team, who jumped from an An-32 aircraft. This was followed by the Mi 17 V5 carrying the Ensign. Next came the Rudra ALH MkIV flying over the parade, saluting India’s Make in India drive. And after this the crowds were enthralled by the Chinook heavy lift helicopters carrying the container of the field gun.

The was followed by the Mi35 and Apache flying in the Eklavya Formation and came from ahead of the stands. Just as they crossed the horizon came the Hercules C-130J transport aircraft of the IAF. Then came a C-17 flanked by MiG 29 and Su 30MKI in the Globe Formation. Post this the sky zoomed with Bison, MiG 29 and Su 30 MKI in the Bahadur Formation.

After this like every year the Su 30 MKI flew in the Trishul Formation. These were followed by a Rafale  flanked by Jaguar and Mirage 2000 in a new formation called Vijay. Another first was the Transformer Formation were LCA, Rafale and Su 30 flew overhead, making the audience gasp.

Like in the past Dakotas and Dorniers flew  together followed by the vintage Tiger Moth. These were followed by the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Teams performing stunts unbelievable. Following them were the Sarangs who did a farewell synchro in the Hindon skies.

The Supreme Commander President of India Ram Nath Kovind  tweeted, “On Air Force Day, we proudly honour our air warriors, veterans, and families of the Indian Air Force. The nation remains indebted to the contribution of the IAF in securing our skies and assisting civil authorities in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.” In another tweet the Supreme Commander of the Armed forces stated, “The ongoing process of modernisation with induction of Rafale, Apache and Chinook will transform the IAF into an even more formidable strategic force. Confident that in the years to come, the Indian Air Force will continue to maintain its high standards of commitment & competence.”

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi also greeted the Indian Air Force on its foundation day.”Many congratulations to all the brave warriors of the Indian Air Force on Air Force Day. You not only keep the skies of the country safe, but also play a leading role in the service of humanity in times of disaster. Your courage to protect Maa Bharati , Gallantry and dedication inspire everyone,” he said.

The Defence Minister expressed that the Nation was proud of its men and women in blue and salutes the prowess of the IAF as it stands ready to face challenges and deter adversaries. “We remain committed to enhancement of IAF‘s combat capability through modernisation and indigenisation,” Rajnath Singh tweeted.

Earlier in the morning the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff General MM Naravane, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria paid homage at National War Memorial, New Delhi on the ocassion of Air Force Day, remembering the valour and courage of the air warriors.