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HomeSocial and PoliticalIndian Air Force Day: A Spectacular Salute to the Skies!

Indian Air Force Day: A Spectacular Salute to the Skies!

On 8th October, The Indian Air Force Celebrated its 92nd anniversary celebrations with a ceremonial parade that took place at the Bamrauli Air Force Station in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. The Indian Air Force Day commemorates the formal inclusion of the Indian Air Force (IAF) into the nation’s armed forces in 1932. Each year, this occasion is observed with the participation of the Chief of the Indian Air Force and high-ranking officers. To celebrate The Air Force Day in Prayagraj, a significant event unfolded, which included a parade and flypast at Bamrauli Air Force Station.

Remarkably, for the first time, a woman officer, Group Captain Shaliza Dhami commanded the parade. Following this, a spectacular display, a grand airshow commenced over Triveni Sangam at 2:30 pm, which is considered to be Asia’s largest airshow ever. Over 100 transport and fighter aircrafts and helicopters participated in a dazzling air show. Fighter planes like Rafale, Sukhoi SU-30, Jaguar, Tejas and choppers like Chinook, Apache and Mi-17 took part. In order to facilitate the airshow, aircraft and helicopters took off from various air bases within the Central Air Command, which included Agra, Bareilly, Gorakhpur, Gwalior, Prayagraj, and others in order to participate in the synchronized aerial display.

Debut of C-295 During the Air Force Day on October 8th, the new C-295 transport aircraft, which was recently added to the Indian Air Force, made its debut by flying over Sangam. This modern military transport plane started its service with the 11 Squadron in September 2023, and it’s going to replace the old Avros-748 planes that the IAF used to use. The first batch of 16 C-295 planes will be built in Seville, Spain, with the second batch expected to arrive by May 2024. The remaining 14 aircraft will be delivered one by one, and this process should be completed by August 2025.

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Last Air Display of MiG-21 The MiG-21, which was introduced in the 1960s, showcased their capability and usefulness in various past wars. In the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, the MiG-21 aircraft, specifically the Type 77 variant, played a crucial part in helping India win the war. These planes were also important for the Indian Air Force during the conflicts in 1965 and the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan.

These iconic Russian-made jets made their last appearance at the Indian Air Force Day parade.The airshow marked a special farewell to these fighter planes as they took their final flight over Sangam in a public display. The Indian Air Force is now in the process of retiring the last three squadrons of these aircraft. Currently, there are only three active MiG-21 squadrons left in the Indian Air Force, and they are all scheduled to be retired by early 2025.

New Flag of Indian Air Force

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At the event, the Indian Air Force’s new flag was unveiled by Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, the leader of the Indian Air Force. This momentous occasion marked the first unveiling of the new flag in 72 years and took place during the annual day parade at Air Force Station Bamrauli in Prayagraj. The IAF Crest features the national symbol, the Ashoka lion, at the top, with the words ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in Devanagari script beneath it. Below the Ashoka lion, there’s a Himalayan eagle with its wings spread, symbolizing the fighting spirit of the IAF.

Surrounding the Himalayan eagle, there is a light blue ring with the words ‘Bharatiya Vayu Sena,’ and the IAF’s motto is inscribed below the Himalayan eagle in golden Devanagari script. It was estimated that approximately 20 lakh people attended the mesmerizing air show. The skies over the Sangam, where the Ganga, Yamuna, and the legendary Saraswati rivers converge, resonated with the thunderous sound of Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft passing by. Lakhs of onlookers gathered on ghats, bridges, and roads to witness the majestic planes soaring above as part of the 92nd celebrations of The Air Force Day.

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People from various regions of the country traveled to witness the event. TTL, In conversation with Ayush, a student, he mentioned that he came to Prayagraj from Sultanpur, which is around 100 kilometers away, along with his family and friends. Moreover, Numerous families from nearby areas arrived in Prayagraj a day prior to the event, eager to witness the remarkable experience. The local residents, well-prepared with essentials like water bottles, umbrellas, and cotton cloths (gamcha), gathered at the Sangam site to enthusiastically enjoy the show. The crowd was visibly filled with immense pride and enthusiasm, often chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai.’ This definitely shows that The Air Force Day celebrations were not just a tribute to the past but also a glimpse into the future of India’s air defense capabilities. It was a day of patriotism, pride, and a reminder of the dedication of the Indian Air Force in safeguarding the nation’s skies.

By, Shreya Kaushal.

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