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Rafale to feature in Republic Day parade for first time

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The Rafale fighter jet inducted into the IAF last year will fly over the Rajpath during the Republic Day parade, the IAF said.

“The flypast will culminate with a single Rafale aircraft carrying out a ‘vertical charlie’ formation,” said IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Indranil Nandi. One Rafale will also lead an “Eklavya formation” with two Jaguars and two MiG-29s fighters.

Beginning September 2020, the IAF has inducted and operationalised eight Rafale fighter jets of the 36 jets contracted from France in a €7.87-billion deal in 2016.

At the Republic Day flypast, 42 aircraft will take part including a vintage Dakota plane and 15 fighters and 10 transport aircraft. There will be 17 helicopters from the IAF and four from the Army Aviation.

The IAF marching contingent will have four officers and 96 airmen led by Flight Lieutenant Tanik Sharma. The IAF band will have 72 musicians and three drum majors. Similarly, 115 IAF musicians would take part in ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony.

On its tableau, the IAF will showcase scaled down models of the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), SU-30MKI and Rohini medium range surveillance radar, the IAF said.

The LCA model would be equipped with indigenous Rudram Next Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGRAM) and LCH model would be equipped with Dhruvastra, indigenous helicopter fired anti-tank guided missile both of which are under development. The SU-30MKI would be equipped with the indigenous Astra Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air to Air missile.

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