HAL was in the forefront as its products showed out their might during the aerial display on the inaugural day of the five-day Aero India 2019 which began to a thunderous display of metal birds at Yelahanka Air base in the outskirts of the city on Wednesday.
HAL showcased its indigenously built aircraft that included Light Utility Helicopter, ALH Mk-III ‘Dhruv’, the military version ALH (Mk IV) Rudra, Light Combat Helicopter, Kiran Mk.
The visibility was at its best as the air display enthralled the large crowd which included Defence Ministers and officials from various countries including Spain, South Korea, Check Republic, Afghanistan, Ghana etc., A large number of visitors other than members of public thronged the tarmac and inaugural function area in the sprawling Indian Air Force Yelahanka Air base.
The air display began on a sombre note a tribute was paid to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi who died in a mid-air collision between two Suryakiran Hawk aircraft during the rehearsal yesterday that also left two other pilots injured.
A ‘Missing Man’ formation was flown during the air display by Jaguar, Tejas and Sukhoi. The Jaguar was piloted by Wg Cdr Avasthi of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Tejas by Wg Cdr Siddarth of National Flight Test Centre and Sukhoi by Wg Cdr Prashanth Nair of Indian Air Force.
The air display began with three IAF M-17 helicopters VIC formation carrying the ensign – the tri-colour, IAF and Aero India flags. The medium lift military helicopter can carry a variety of weapons including rockets, bombs, guns and fuel-air explosives. It can also carry 24 fully armed commandos for special operations.
Then came Dakota DC-3 vintage aircraft painted in gold and black. The Douglas DC-3 nicknamed as ‘Goonybird’ had revolutionised the air transport in the 1920s and 40s. It was in the forefront of operations from 1947-71. The aircraft was obtained from scrap in 2011 and was restored to flying condition by BJP Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrashekar.
The light utility helicopter made an impressive display as the A3 ton class rotar aircraft power by single shaft engine and now already in service in India and abroad. Then came ALH Mk_III dhruv which is a multi-role, multi-mission capable twin engine helicopter.
ALH ‘Rudra’ looked impressive. The Weaponised variant of ALH is fitted with more power Shakti engines.
Spearhead of Indian Air Force Sukhoi 30 MKI thundered the skies and displayed its manoeuvrability prowess while other jet fighters on flight display were Jaguar Darinn upgrade.
But LCA Tejas, MK-I of which would get its FOC today stole the thunder. Tejas is a single engine, lightweight, highly agile, multi-role supersonic fighter. It is completely developed and manufactured by HAL. Avro, Kiran MK I, Mig-21 Bison, Saras and AEW&C were the other aircraft that flew from the HAL/IAF stables.
In the end the foursome Sarang Helicopter display team enthralled the large gathering with the pilots displaying immaculate flying skills.
French fighter jet Rafale, the purchase of 36 aircraft of this family which had created controversy, also made an impressive flying
display. The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multi-role aircraft.