Indigenous famous Suryakiran’s now established configuration of nine Advanced Jet Trainer Hawks returned to impress. But what made all the difference this time was the four Sarangs flying in tandem to clinch a rare fixed-rotor-wing jugalbandi.
With the continued scare of pandemic even dampened by a low foreign turnout, enthusiasm was high in the limited crowd.
Criss-crossing the aerial canvas in diamond-in-the-sky formation at speeds in excess of 1,000 kmph, impressing with breathtaking vertical splits, the Suryakirans had the crowds gleefully applaud. Sanitised in a bio-bubble that allowed only those with negative RT-PCR test reports, the audience lapped it all.
The Sarang choppers were at their aerobatic best but at a much lower altitude. But from the ground up, the lines merged and the illusion lingered long. The collective exhaust from the flying machines drew lines of love, projected power in equal measure.
The 2019 buzz around the Dassault Rafale had waned. But three of these French multirole combat aircraft returned for a loud encore. Fresh from the Rs 47,000 crore IAF-HAL deal, the LCA Tejas was there too, geared up to stamp its indigenous imprint.
In Garud formation, the Sukhoi-Mki, the Jaguar and the AJT Hawk made a mark. So did the three Sukhois in Trishul avatar. Making their statement in aerodynamic stall turns and rapid blade folds, the rotary-wing had the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) demonstrate their operational flexibility.
But the inaugural’s traditional grandeur could not take off without that stately three Mi-17 helicopter flypast, one with the tricolour, another with the IAF flag and a third flying low with that Aero India flag. The three-day show had just begun in style.
Green-signalled by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the airshow in a unique hybrid model had thousands glued to the skies and screens. The shadow of the pandemic did dampen the proceedings, but over 540 exhibitors had turned up to showcase their products and services, 77 of them foreign. (UNI)