Air Force Day: From Rafale to Chinook, how India displayed its arsenal today

On the 89th anniversary of Air Force Day, India honoured the unsung heroes of the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel march past as IAF helicopters perform an air display during 89th foundation day of the force, at Hindan Airbase in Ghaziabad.(PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore)
Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel march past as IAF helicopters perform an air display during 89th foundation day of the force, at Hindan Airbase in Ghaziabad.(PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore)
Published on Oct 08, 2021 01:17 PM IST
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Written by Sharmita Kar | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Flag bearing skydivers of the famous Akash Ganga Team dropping out of AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies commemorated the grand parade on the 89th anniversary of Indian Air Force (IAF) at Hindon Air Base in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad on Friday. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane and CDS General Bipin Rawat were present on the occasion.

Indian Air Force (IAF) C17 with two Tejas M2K and two SU 30 during the 89th Air Force Day parade at Hindon Air Force station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, on Friday, October 8, 2021.(Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times)
Indian Air Force (IAF) C17 with two Tejas M2K and two SU 30 during the 89th Air Force Day parade at Hindon Air Force station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, on Friday, October 8, 2021.(Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times)

History, significance

The IAF was established on October 8, 1932, in undivided India which was under colonial rule. It was given the prefix "Royal" by King George VI for its contribution during the Second World War. The prefix was later dropped in 1950 when India became a republic.

Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jet releases flares during the IAF Day parade at Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.(Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times)
Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jet releases flares during the IAF Day parade at Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.(Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times)

As a result, every year, October 8 is observed as the Indian Air Force Day to celebrate the proud day of the foundation of IAF, also known as Bharatiya Vayu Sena.

For Indian Air Force Day parade 2021, India is paying tribute to the unsung heroes of the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Indian Air Force (IAF) Mi-25 and Apache helicopters performe during the 89th Air Force Day parade at Hindon Air Force station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.(Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times)
Indian Air Force (IAF) Mi-25 and Apache helicopters performe during the 89th Air Force Day parade at Hindon Air Force station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.(Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times)

‘To air warriors, veterans and families’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his greetings to the brave “air warriors and their families”. “The Indian Air Force is synonymous with courage, diligence and professionalism. They have distinguished themselves in defending the country and through their humanitarian spirit in times of challenges,” he said in a tweet.

IAF's Vajra, the Mirage 2000 fighter jet. Image shared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(Twitter/@narendramodi)
IAF's Vajra, the Mirage 2000 fighter jet. Image shared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(Twitter/@narendramodi)

Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind congratulated the Air Force and expressed confidence that the IAF “will continue to maintain its cherished standards of excellence”.

Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu also extended his greetings towards the IAF. “My heartiest greetings on Air Force Day! Be it war or peace, our Air Warriors have always made the nation proud through their courage, professionalism and excellence. May these winged warriors keep soaring bringing glory to the nation” he said.

Today’s event

The Indian Air Force started the ceremony with flypast showcasing heritage aircraft, modern transport aircraft, and frontline fighter aircraft. Indian Air Force personnel marched past as IAF helicopters performed a marvellous air display. The IAF displayed its fighter jets Sukhoi Su-30 and Rafale at the Hindon airbase and put up a brilliant air display this morning. Later, IAF chief Chaudhari presented the Vayu Sena Medal - Gallantry to officers.

IAF Tejas fighter jet flies during the 89th Air Force Day parade at Hindon Air Force station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.(Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times)
IAF Tejas fighter jet flies during the 89th Air Force Day parade at Hindon Air Force station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.(Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times)
Chinook helicopters fly past as they carry Artillery guns during the 89th Air Force Day parade at Hindon Air Force station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.(Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times)
Chinook helicopters fly past as they carry Artillery guns during the 89th Air Force Day parade at Hindon Air Force station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.(Photo by Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times)

Speaking at the event, the Air Chief Marshal said that these are crucial times with regards to security scenario and external forces will not be allowed to violate our territory.

“The prompt actions in response to developments in eastern Ladakh was a testament to Indian Air Force's combat readiness... The security environment in our region and beyond has been impacted by the complex interplay of geopolitical forces,” he said.

The ceremony will conclude with a spellbinding aerobatic display.

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Thursday, December 09, 2021