A staggering 27 types of aircraft will be on view as President APJ Abdul Kalam conducts the first ever review of the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet to mark its platinum jubilee.
The review will be conducted in the first week of March at Chandigarh, IAF sources said on Tuesday. The president will be conducting the review in his capacity as supreme commander of the armed forces.
While there is no official confirmation of this as yet, it is known there are intense preparations underway at the operational level to work out the format of the review and fine-tune its various elements.
"We consider this a unique honour, akin only to the Indian Navy fleet review that is held once during the tenure of every president," an IAF source said.
The IAF operates 27 different types of helicopters, combat jets, trainers and transport aircraft and at least one of every type will be on view - either as part of the static display or as part of a flypast to be also staged on the occasion.
An enthralling aerobatic display by the nine-aircraft Surya Kiran team will form the grand finale of the review, the sources added.
The platinum jubilee celebrations will officially kick off with an investiture ceremony, march past and a fly past - a mini version of the one staged during the review on IAF Day October 8 at the Hindon Air Base on the outskirts of the city.
This is the first time the parade is being held at Hindon. It has hitherto been held at the Palam Air Base in New Delhi and is being shifted as it leads to considerable disruption of commercial traffic from the domestic and international airport.
"Also, since we have more space at Hindon, we can put on a much grander show," the sources said.
Among the aircraft the IAF operates are:
Helicopters: Cheetah, Chetak, Chetal, MI-8, MI-17, MI-26, MI-35, Dhruv (Advanced Light Helicopter).
Fighters/Bombers: MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-27, MiG-29, Sukhoi SU-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, Canberra.
Transports: HS-748, AN-32, Il-76.
VIP aircraft: Boeing-737, Embraer.
Trainers: HPT-32, HJT-16 (Kiran), Iskara TS-11.