Chinook, Rudra and Apache helicopters, Super Hercules, C-17 Globemaster and Tejas aircraft were also on display

The grand celebrations of the 88th Indian Air Force Day on Thursday were marked with aircraft showcasing India’s prowess in the clear skies over Hindon Airbase in Ghaziabad but what caught the eyes this year was the newly acquired Rafale jet.

The Rafale jet debuted this year leading the ‘Vijay Formation’ which also included Jaguar and Mirage aircraft.

The photographs and videos of Rafale jet in action soon started doing rounds on social media.

Speaking on the occasion, IAF Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria said, “I want to assure the nation that the Indian Air Force will evolve and be ever ready to safeguard our nation's sovereignty and interests in all circumstances. As we enter the 89th year, the IAF is undergoing a transformational change. We are entering an era which will redefine where we employ aerospace power and conduct integrated multi-domain operations.”

Extending his greetings on Air Force Day, President Ram Nath Kovind took to Twitter and said modernisation with the
induction of new aircraft will transform the IAF.

He wrote, “The ongoing process of modernisation with induction of Rafale, Apache and Chinook will transform the IAF into an even more formidable strategic force. Confident that in the years to come, the Indian Air Force will continue to maintain its high standards of commitment & competence.”

The President also congratulated air warriors, veterans and families of the Indian Air Force personnel on the occasion. He wrote, “On Air Force Day, we proudly honour our air warriors, veterans, and families of the Indian Air Force. The nation remains indebted to the contribution of the IAF in securing our skies and assisting civil authorities in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended his greetings to the nation while saluting air warriors on the 88th Air Force Day via Twitter, “Many congratulations to all the brave warriors of the Indian Air Force on Air Force day. You not only keep the skies of the country safe, but also play a leading role in the service of humanity in times of disaster. Your courage, valour and dedication to protect Maa Bharti is inspiring everyone.”

Similarly, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu saluted the courage and professionalism of the air warriors. On Twitter, he wrote, “I extend my warmest greetings to all Air Force personnel on the 88th Air Force Day. Our Air Warriors are known for their professionalism, excellence and courage. They have made the country proud in war and peace. May they touch the sky with glory.”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that India is committed to enhance IAF’s combat capability through modernisation and indigenisation.

“The Nation is proud of its men and women in blue and salutes the prowess of the IAF as it stands ready to face challenges and deter adversaries. We remain committed to enhancement of IAF's combat capability through modernisation and indigenisation,” he wrote on Twitter.

He further wrote, “My felicitations and best wishes to the air warriors and their families on the occasion of Air Force Day-2020. Eighty eight years of dedication, sacrifice and excellence mark the journey of the IAF which is today a lethal and formidable force to reckon with.”

“I am confident that the IAF will always guard the Nation's skies, come what may. Here's wishing you blue skies and happy landings always,” he wrote.

India which is cutting down on imports in the defence sector and promoting indigenously made weapons and armed vehicles, showcased the power of Indian made Tejas aircraft taking to the skies.

The other formations were made up of Chinook helicopters, MIG 21, Rudra helicopters, Apache helicopters, Super Hercules, C-17 Globemaster and Mi-35 helicopters among others. The Indian Air Force later shared the glimpses of the parade on its Twitter handle.