Here is your 10-point cheatsheet for Indian Air Force Day 2019:
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman today led a formation of the MiG-21 Bison at Hindon. The MiG-21 Bison is an upgraded version of the Soviet-era fighter jet. Wing Commander Varthaman was awarded the Vir Chakra for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 in February. His aircraft also was downed by enemy fire. He belonged to the 51 Squadron that won the citation today.
The other that won the citation is the 9 Squadron, whose Mirage-2000 bombed the Jaish camp in Balakot. Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal's 601 Signal unit was awarded for its role in foiling Pakistan's airstrike attempt in February.
"We acknowledge the contributions of all personnel of Commands, Stations and Units who silently and professionally contributed to the success of the air strikes on the terrorist camps at Balakot earlier this year," the Air Chief Marshal said in his address to IAF personnel at Hindon.
"In the recent years, the geo-political environment has been rapidly changing and uncertainties have created numerous challenges to national security. It is extremely important that we are always vigilant and alert to the existing sub-conventional threat," he said.
"...We have started building the LCA fleet and we already one squadron operational and five more will be inducted in the near future. The development of indigenous 5th Generation Advanced Multi-role Combat Aircraft (AMCA) has been launched," he said, adding the IAF will assist and promote Indian firms to play a major role in fleet sustenance.
The air display started with flag-bearing sky divers of the Akash Ganga team dropping out of an AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies. Next came the Chinook heavy-lift twin-rotor transport helicopter and the Apache attack helicopters, being showcased for the first time. Both these helicopters were acquired from the US and inducted into the IAF in the last few months.
The flypast included a spectacular manoeuvre by the Russian-origin multirole fighter jet Sukhoi-30MKI. The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas too made several manoeuvres in the air as the crowd below cheered for it.
A flypast of vintage planes including the Dakota that had served the IAF for over 40 years was carried out over Hindon. The Dakota DC-3 aircraft of the 1940s was used till 1988. It was one of the most versatile transport aircraft of its time.
The Indian Air Force was set up on October 8, 1932. When it was formed, it had a strength of only six Royal Air Force-trained officers and 19 Havai Sepoys (air soldiers). The aircraft inventory comprised four Westland Wapiti IIA army co-operation biplanes, according to the IAF on its website.
Rajnath Singh met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris today. He will take delivery of the first of the 36 Rafale aircraft that India bought from France. He will perform a "Shastra Puja" on Dussehra, which falls today. While the formal handover ceremony takes place today, the first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India by May 2020.