During this year’s Republic Day Parade in the capital, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to showcase the participation of new Agniveer Vayu women recruits. The event will feature a tri-service women contingent of 144, comprising 48 Agniveer Vayu women. A historic moment will also unfold as the newly inducted medium transport aircraft, C-295, takes to the skies over the Kartavya Path.
The C-295 aircraft leading the formation will highlight the airborne spectacle, flanked by two C-130 aircraft flying in echelon. It will mark the first appearance of this latest addition to the force’s assets during the Republic Day Parade, scheduled for January 26. The introduction of the C-295 aircraft is significant, as it replaces the legacy HS-748 Avro transport aircraft, with the first C-295 being inducted by the IAF in September last year.
India’s air military prowess will be on full display with a fleet of 51 aircraft, including 29 fighter jets, eight transport aircraft, one heritage aircraft, and 13 helicopters. The Republic Day celebrations will feature a special tribute to the historic ‘Tangail airdrop’ that played a pivotal role in India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971. One Dakota aircraft and two Dorniers will soar through the skies in a distinctive ‘Tangail formation,’ commemorating the significant event. Adding to the aerial spectacle, six Rafale fighter jets will take centre stage in a dazzling ‘Vajraang formation,’ showcasing the nation’s cutting-edge air power during this year’s parade.
IAF officials have announced that Squadron Leader Rashmi Thakur will lead the marching contingent, supported by supernumerary officers Squadron Leader Sumita Yadav, Squadron Leader Pratiti Ahluwalia, and Flight Lieutenant Kirti Rohil. Furthermore, 15 accomplished female pilots from the IAF will actively operate various air assets during the aerial flypast.
The theme for the Republic Day tableau of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is “Bharatiya Vayu Sena: Saksham, Sashakt, Atmanirbhar.” The tableau’s rear segment highlights a specific sortie from Operation Kaveri, launched on April 24, 2023, to evacuate Indian nationals from conflict-ridden Sudan. During this mission, an IAF C-130J aircraft successfully rescued Indian nationals under challenging conditions, including night operations. The middle section of the tableau showcases Tejas and SU-30 fighters soaring over the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), symbolising the continuous expansion of the Indian Air Force’s influence over both land and sea, according to Wing Commander Manish Sharma, an IAF official during a press preview held on Friday.