|The Rafale will be flying in two different formations during the flypast. They will first fly with Jaguars and Mirage 2000 in the Arrowhead formation, followed by another formation involving the Sukhoi-30 and the Tejas light combat aircraft|
The Indian Air Force will celebrate its 88th anniversary on Thursday with a ceremonial parade and flypast involving a variety of aircraft at the Hindon airbase. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and border tensions with China in the Ladakh sector where the air force is on high alert, the scale of the IAF Day parade will be bigger than last year with more aircraft taking part in the ceremonial flypast.
Here are five highlights of the parade for IAF Day 2020
1. Compared to the 51 aircraft that took part in the IAF Day parade last year, this year’s flypast will feature 56 aircraft, including fighters, transport planes and helicopters. The Rafale fighter jets will take part in the IAF Day flypast for the first time. This will mark their second public appearance after the planes were formally inducted at the Ambala airbase on September 10.
2. The Rafale will be flying in two different formations during the flypast. They will first fly with Jaguars and Mirage 2000 in the Arrowhead formation, followed by another formation involving the Sukhoi-30 and the Tejas light combat aircraft.
3. The number of aircraft in different formations has also been increased this year from three to five. The parade will feature 19 fighter jets, seven transport planes, 19 helicopters, two vintage aircraft and nine planes belonging to the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team.
4. Apart from Rafale, the fighter jets taking part in the parade include the Su-30, Jaguar, Mirage 2000, MiG-29, MiG-21 Bison and Tejas. The Rafales, Su-30s and MiG-29s are among the aircraft deployed in the Ladakh theatre to deal with any provocation by the Chinese military.
5. Transport aircraft that will be flying in different formations during the flypast include C-17 heavy lifters and C-130 special operations aircraft. Both aircraft are being used extensively in the Ladakh sector to transport soldiers and equipment. The flypast will also feature Chinook multi-mission choppers, Apache attack helicopters and Mi-35 gunships.