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IAF showcases new acquisition AWACS during parade

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Indian Air Force AWACS and Su-30 aircrafts presenting an air show during the IAF Day Parade. Image credit: PTI

HINDON (PTI): For the first time since its induction this year, 'Phalcon' Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) was showcased as the pride of possession by the IAF at its anniversary parade held at the airbase here Thursday.

The Israeli-made eye-in-the-sky radar mounted on Russian IL-76 airframe was displayed during the fly past that marked the 77th Air Force Day.

AWACS provides the IAF the capability to keep a close watch on enemy aircraft and missiles taking off from their bases, even as it flies far away from the border, and helps in directing Indian fighter aircraft and air defence counter measures to the incoming threats.

The Air Force also displayed its air power with 54 frontline fighter aircraft such as Russian-origin Sukhois, French Mirage-2000s, British deep penetration strike Jaguars, apart from vintage MiG-21s and MiG-27s and Mi-17 transport and Mi-35 attack helicopters from several airbases across north India participating in the flying display over the skies of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik took the salute from the air warriors participating in the parade commanded by Group Captain S K Vidhate.

The parade itself was witnessed by foreign diplomats and defence attaches. Members of Parliament, Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, Army chief General Deepak Kapoor and Navy Vice chief Vice Admiral D K Dewan were present as guests of honour. Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma is away in the US to attend an international sea power symposium.

As in the previous years, the star attraction of this year's parade was the IAF's 'Surya Kiran' aerobatics team, only the third such nine-aircraft formation flying team, on their Kiran MkII trainer aircraft and the 'Sarang' helicopter aerobatics team flying four 'Dhruv' Advanced Light Helicopters displaying their breath-taking stunts in the air.

Organised by the Western Air Command under its chief Air Marshal N A K Browne, the precursor to the parade was the air warriors from the 'Akashganga' para-jumping team jumping off an AN-32 aircraft from an height of 5,000 feet, opening up their colourful parachutes to lit up the skies.

The air warrior's precision training, discipline and rigours was brought out by a drill team that performed spellbinding exercises using their bayonet-fitted rifles.

This year's static display comprised of fighter aircraft Sukhoi, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-21 Bison, transport aircraft Dornier, Mi-17 IV transport helicopter and Prithvi indigenous ballistic missile.

Naik also presented 55 decorations, including two Bar to Vayu Sena Medals and five Sena Medals, both for gallantry, apart from 15 Vayu Sena Medals and 32 Vishist Seva Medals to officers and airmen, of which four was bravery exhibited during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks last year.

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