New Delhi: The Indian Air Force`s (IAF) latest acquisition, the US Lockheed Martin C-130J transporter, made its debut at the 63rd Republic Day parade here Thursday.
The plane, used by Indian armed forces for special forces operations, was part of the IAF tableau and the fly past over Rajpath for the first time ever.
Three C-130Js were part of the IAF`s 29-aircraft fly past, which included Sukhoi 30-MKIs and MiG29s.
This is the first time in several decades that an American plane, which is part of the IAF fleet, is taking part in the Republic Day fly past.
India bought six C-130Js from the US for over $1 billion.
As in the previous years, the highlight of the flypast was the vertical Charlie manoeuvre by a lone Sukhoi aircraft that marked the culmination of the parade.
The two-phase fly past began with four Mi-17 IV helicopters going past the saluting base trailing the National Flag and the army, navy and air force flags. They also showered petals on the people on the Rajpath.
The IAF was also represented by a tableau depicting its Special Forces and special operational capabilities.
The float showcased the Mi-17 V5 multi-purpose helicopter, another latest acquisition, intended to airlift special forces to combat areas.
The C130J and Mi-17 V5 cater to the need of commandos of the army and navy along with IAF`s Guard and National Security Guard commandos.
An IL78, two AN-32s, two Dornier`s also flew in a Big Boy formation, while five Jaguar aircraft zoomed overhead. So did as many MiG-29 in the arrowhead formation.
Prior to the vertical Charlie by a lone Sukhoi, three other Su-30 MKI planes flew in the Trishul formation and split upwards making a trident in the sky.