- The IAF said that the Air Force Band, which has 72 musicians and three drum majors, will play the marching music for the IAF contingent.
- All four IAF officers said they have to get to Kartavya Path at 4 am to practise in the freezing cold, but their spirit keeps them warm.
A senior IAF official said that 50 planes will take part in the 74th Republic Day celebrations at the Kartavya Path. They will include nine Rafale and the Navy’s IL-38, which will be shown for the first and possibly last time at the event.
He said that the Indian Navy’s IL-38 is a maritime reconnaissance plane that has been in service for almost 42 years.
“It will be shown here for the first time and maybe the last time during the Republic Day celebrations. It will be one of the 50 planes that will be there,” an IAF official said.
He also said that four of these 50 planes will come from the Army.
During a meeting with the press here, the Indian Air Force also showed off a model of the tableau that will be shown at the parade on January 26.
The theme of the IAF tableau is “Indian Air Force: Power Beyond Boundaries,” and it will show some of the IAF’s most important assets, including some that have just been put into service.
This will be the first time the ceremonial boulevard has been used for Republic Day celebrations since Rajpath was changed to Kartavya Path last year.
The IAF official said that nine Rafale planes will also fly over during the celebrations.
“Four Rafales will be in the Netra formation, and four others will be in the Vajrang formation with a C-130. At the end of the flypast, one of the Rafales will do a “Vertical Charlie.”
When asked what will be shown for the first time during the flypast, the IAF official said that in addition to the IL-38 naval aircraft, formations like “Bheem” and “Vajrang” will be shown for the first time over the Kartavya Path.
In the “Bheem” formation, two Su-30s will fly on either side of a C-17. Then, in the “Vajrang” formation, he said, a C-130 plane will be surrounded by four Rafale planes.
“We had a similar formation on IAF Day, but the C-130 was surrounded by Su-30s,” the official said.
During the flypast, there will also be the “Dhawj,” “Rudra,” “Baaz,” “Prachand,” “Tiranga,” “Tangail,” “Garuda,” “Amrit,” and “Trishul” formations.
Squadron Leader Sindhu Reddy, who is 32 years old, will lead the IAF marching contingent of 144 air warriors. She will be helped by three supernumerary officers: Flt Lt Ayush Agarwal, who is 25, Flt Lt Tanuj Malik, who is 26, and Flt Lt Pradhan Nikhil, who is 28. (24).
The IAF said that the Air Force Band, which has 72 musicians and three drum majors, will play the marching music for the IAF contingent.
It said that Warrant Officer Ashok Kumar will be in charge of the IAF band contingent. Kumar has been in charge of the group for 16 years and has been a part of Republic Day celebrations for the past 26 years.
“I’m very proud to have been a part of the IAF band for so many years and to be doing so this year on the Kartavya Path. Songs like “Astronaut” and “Vijay Bharat” will be the main draws. As usual, we will play “Sound Barrier” and then “Ladaku.” We’ll play old songs like “Sare Jahan Se Acha” at the Beating the Retreat ceremony, he said.
Squadron Leader Reddy and the three supernumerary officers who will join her as part of the IAF contingent, Flight Lieutenants Agarwal, Malik, and Nikhil, are all excited to take part in the Republic Day celebrations for the first time.
Squadron Leader Reddy, who is from Bengaluru and joined the IAF in 2013, was very proud of the idea of being in charge of the IAF continent.
“It is a great honour to be in charge of our group on the Kartavya Path. When I started training, the first thing I was told was, “You are a soldier.” I feel the same way whether I’m flying an aeroplane or doing anything else.
She said that when she was in school, she was a cadet in the IAF wing of the NCC.
“And it was my father’s dream for me to march in the Republic Day parade on the Rajpath. So, in that way, it’s a dream come true,” the Squadron Leader said.
Flight Lieutenant Agarwal, who is from Jaipur, said that walking on Kartavya Path during rehearsals “reminds us of our duties to the nation and the IAF” and that “we are part of the “fauj” of this nation.”
“And it is our job to keep this country’s borders safe,” he said.
All four IAF officers said they have to get to Kartavya Path at 4 am to practise in the freezing cold, but their spirit keeps them warm.
“The temperature is low, but the “josh” is high,” says Flight Lieutenant Malik from Sonepat in Haryana.