One Rafale with two Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft and two MiG-29 Air Superiority Fighters in 'Eklavya’ formation flew over Rajpath in a flypast by the Indian Air Force as part of the Centre’s Republic Day Parade on Tuesday, 26 January. This is the first time a Rafale fighter jet has been part of a Republic Day flypast.
The ‘Trinetra’ formation comprising three Su-30MKIs - the three aircraft split outwards and upwards, forming a ‘Trishul in the Sky’ - was also undertaken by the IAF. The formation was led by Gp Capt AK Misra. Commanding Officer of 15 Squadron with Sqn Ldr RC Kulkarni.
The flypast concluded with a single Rafale aircraft flying at a speed of 900km/hr carrying out a ‘Vertical Charlie’. The aircraft was piloted by Group Capt Harkirat Singh, Shaurya Chakra, Commanding Officer of 17 Squadron with Sqn Ldr Kislaykant.
The first woman in India to qualify for combat mission in a fighter jet – Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth – added another first to her name, on Tuesday. Scripting history, she became the first woman fighter pilot to be part of Air Force contingent at the Republic Day parade.
The Indian Air Force tableau with the theme “Indian Air Force: Touch the Sky with Glory” showcased scaled-down models of Light Combat Aircraft, Light Combat Helicopter and Su-30 MK-I aircraft.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic and farmers’ tractor rally against the farm laws, Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi wore a different look this year. With no chief guest for the parade, the number of people witnessing the event has also been reduced to 25,000 from 1.25 lakh the year before.
Ahead of the parade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to martyrs at the National War Memorial. As the parade concluded, PM Modi walked down Rajpath to greet people who came to witness the celebrations.