In a first, spectators were able to get an aerial view of the flypast as the defence ministry put out stunning footage of the air show taken from cockpits of some of the aircraft. The IAF had coordinated with public broadcaster Doordarshan to show recorded in-flight videos.
A magnificent bird’s eye visuals of different aircraft formations flying above the clouds were telecast and also shown on large screens installed at the parade venue. Vintage, as well as modern aircraft like Rafale, Sukhoi, Jaguar, Mi-17, Sarang, Apache and Dakota, displayed different formations, including Rahat, Meghna, Eklavya, Trishul, Tiranga, Vijay and Amrit, over the Central Vista.
The country’s first woman fighter pilot Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh, who is flying the multirole Rafale fighter, was part of the IAF tableau this time. She is the second woman fighter pilot to be part of the IAF tableau. Last year, Flt Lt Bhawna Kanth became the first woman fighter pilot to be part of the parade.
Shivangi, who joined the air force in 2017 and hailed from UP’s Varanasi, was flying MiG-21 Bison before being inducted into the IAF’s elite Golden Arrows squadron of Rafale aircraft. The IAF was the first force of the three wings to have allowed women officers in combat and has the highest percentage of women officers.
The flypast began with the ‘Dhwaj’ formation with four Mi-17 aircraft, followed by ‘Rudra’ and ‘Rahat’ formations with four and five Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), respectively. Next was the Tangail formation which saw one Dakota and two Dornier flying in Vic formation. This was a tribute to the Tangail airdrop operations of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. Tangail formation was followed by the Traan formation and Netra formation. Next was Vinaash formation comprising five Rafale aircraft followed by Baaz and Trishul formation.
In a tweet, defence ministry principal spokesperson A Bharat Bhushan Babu said, “Cockpit view of Baaz formation comprising 1 Rafale, 2 Jaguar, 2 MiG-29 UPG, 2 Su-30 MI ac in seven ac ‘Arrowhead’ formation flying at 300m AOL.”
In the Tiranga formation, five Sarang (ALH) flew in Ladder formation streaming Tricolour after Varuna formation. In the Amrit formation, 17 Jaguar aircraft made a figure of 75 to mark the 75th year of Independence or ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.