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Rafale to feature in Republic Day parade for first time

The newly inducted Rafale fighter aircraft will feature in India’s Republic Day parade on January 26 and culminate the flypast by carrying out the ‘Vertical Charlie’ formation, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said on Monday.

In the ‘Vertical Charlie’ formation, the aircraft flies at low altitude, pulls up vertically and conducts rolls before stabilising at higher altitude.

“The flypast will culminate with a single Rafale aircraft carrying out a ‘Vertical Charlie’ formation,” IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Indranil Nandi said at a press conference here.

In a major boost to India’s air power capability, five French-made multirole Rafale fighter jets were inducted into the IAF on September 10 last year.

A total of 38 IAF aircraft and four planes of the Indian Army will participate in the flypast on January 26, Nandi said.

As is traditionally the case, the spokesperson said, the flypast will be divided into two blocks the first is planned along with the parade from 1004 hours to 1020 hours and the second after the parade from 1120 hours to 1145 hours.

In the first block, there will be three formations. The first will be the ‘Nishan’ formation comprising of four Mi17V5 aircraft that will carry the national flag and logos of all three services, Nandi said.

It will be followed by the ‘Dhruv’ formation by four helicopters of Army Aviation Corps, he said.

The last would be the ‘Rudra’ formation which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country’s victory in the 1971 war, he said, adding that it will consist of a single Dakota aircraft flanked by two Mi17V5 helicopters.

On December 16 last year, India launched year-long celebrations of its victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Nandi said the second block of the flypast will consist of nine formations.

These nine formations are ‘Sudarshan’, ‘Rakshak’, ‘Bhim’, ‘Netra’, ‘Garuda’, ‘Eklavya’, ‘Trinetra’, ‘Vijay’ and ‘Brahmastra’, he said.

One Rafale along with two Jaguar and MiG-29 aircraft each will conduct the ‘Eklavya’ formation in the second block of the flypast, he said.

Wing Commander Tej Pratap Pandey said models of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and indigenously developed anti-tank guided missile Dhruvastra will feature in the IAF’s Republic Day parade tableaus.

“It (tableaus) will showcase scaled-down models of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Sukhoi-30Mki and Rohini radar,” he said.

Indigenously developed next-generation anti-radiation missile Rudram and anti-tank guided missile Dhruvastra will be displayed on the LCA and the LCH respectively, Pandey said.

Sukhoi-30Mki will display indigenously developed Astra and Brahmos missiles, he said.

Indigenously developed Akash missile will be displayed along with the Rohini radar, he added.

Wing Commander Vasudev Ahuja said the IAF’s marching contingent at the parade will consist of four officers and 96 soldiers marching in a box formation of 12 rows and eight columns.

The marching contingent will be led by Flight Lieutenant Tanik Sharma and three supernumerary officers — Flight Lieutenant Manjeet Singh, Flight Lieutenant Apoorva Yadav and Flying Officer Kuttapa.

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