Celebrating its 89th anniversary, the Indian Air Force (IAF) today put up a dazzling show with 75 aircrafts, drawn from its vintage and modern fleet, performing skillful maneuvers to mark the platinum jubilee year of India's Independence.
The air show at the Hindon airbase showcased Dakota, Dornier, LCA Tejas and Rafale fighter jets, among other aircrafts. Some of the routines performed were a nod to the country's victory in the 1971 war.
"A total of 75 aircraft took part in the air show today at Hindon airbase as part of the 89th IAF Day celebrations. The number is significant as it marks the 75th year of India's Independence.
"This was not announced earlier and we had kept it as a surprise package," a senior IAF official said.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary in his address before the show, hailed the contributions of previous IAF chiefs for their visionary leadership and also saluted the brave warriors who have laid down their lives in the line of duty.
Touching on the modernisation plans of the IAF, the Chief of Air Staff pitched for "creative and skillful" employment of new-age capabilities through the development of unique tactics and "out-of-the-box" operational plans and training programmes to gain mastery over modern trends of aerial warfare.
India is marking the 75th year of Independence as 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' and a huge tricolour made of khadi was displayed on the side of the tarmac.
This year is also being celebrated as 'Swarnim Vijay Varsh' which marks the 50th anniversary of the victory of the Indian armed forces in the 1971 war against Pakistan that eventually led to the birth of Bangladesh.
During the aerial maneuvers, some of the segments were a tribute to the valour of the Indian armed forces and the supreme sacrifices made by many soldiers.
The air show began with an Aakash Ganga team of paratroopers delighting the spectators, after ejecting out of an AN-32 aircraft. This was followed by a flight of a vintage Dakota from which three paratroopers emerged, in a nod to the Tangail airdrop during the 1971 war.
Six Hunter aircraft made a 'Vinaash' formation to signify the decisive victory of India in the Battle of Longewala in 1971.
Other air displays that drew cheers from the crowd included aircraft flying in 'Rudra' formation, 'Meghna' formation that included two Chinooks, 'Eklavya' that included four Apaches, and a show by 'Sarang' helicopters and the Surya Kiran flying team, and C-130J Super Hercules.
C-17 Globemaster, Su-30, Hawk, Jaguar, Mi-29 also took part in the dazzling show at the airbase that was decked up for the occasion.
In another nod to the 1971 war victory, 'Pratap' formation -- named after then IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Pratap Chandra Lal -- was flown with a Dakota and two Dorniers.
Many vintage and modern aircraft were put on static display on side of the tarmac, facing the saluting dais. These included Gnat, a single-sea interceptor and an air-defence and ground attack fighter, Chinook, Mirage-2000, ALH Mk3, LCA Tejas, Rafale, MiG-21 Bison, Apache attack helicopter, Jaguar, Su-30 and C-130J Super Hercules.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)