The Indian Air Force (IAF) is celebrating its 90th anniversary on Saturday.
Celebrations began early this morning with a ceremonial parade held at the air force station in Chandigarh. Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari inspected the parade which was followed by a march-past. Air-Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, Air Marshal Sreekumar Prabhakaran was among senior IAF officers present on the occasion.
This is the first time that the annual parade and fly-past is being held outside Delhi-NCR.
The IAF will conduct an hour-long air show at the lake with participation by nearly 80 military aircraft and helicopters, including the recently inducted indigenously-built Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) "Prachand" will showcase their aerial prowess during the fly-past.
Light Combat Helicopter Limited Series Production (LSP) is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern combat helicopter containing approximately 45 per cent indigenous content by value which will progressively increase to more than 55 per cent for the SP Version.
The new chopper is capable of aerial combat and will help the force combat slow-moving aircraft, drones and armoured columns during conflicts.
Besides LCH 'Prachand', several other aircraft including Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Sukhoi, Mig-29, Jaguar, Rafale, IL-76, C-130J and Hawk will be part of the fly-past. Among helicopters, Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv, Chinook, Apache and Mi-17 will be part of the aerial display.
Air Force Day marks the official induction of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 1932. Every year, the day is celebrated in the presence of the Indian Air Force chief and senior officers. The Air Force was officially raised as the supporting force of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom in 1932 and the first operational squadron was created in 1933.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh wished the force early this morning.
"Greetings and best wishes to all courageous IAF air warriors and their families on the Indian Air Force Day. The IAF is known for its valour, excellence, performance and professionalism. India is proud of its men and women in blue. Wishing them blue skies and happy landings," Singh tweeted.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “On Air Force Day, my greetings to the courageous air warriors and their families. In line with the motto of नभः स्पृशं दीप्तम्, the Indian Air Force has shown exceptional dexterity for decades. They have secured the nation and also shown remarkable human spirit during disasters.”