R-Day: In a first, woman leads IAF contingent

Flight Lieutenant Shekhawat was assisted by three other women Flying Officers Heena Pore.

New Delhi: Sneha Shekhawat from Sikar in Rajasthan on Thursday created history when she led the Air Force contingent at the 63rd Republic Day parade becoming the first woman pilot to do so.

Flight Lieutenant Shekhawat was assisted by three other women Flying Officers Heena Pore, Anupam Chaudhary and Pooja Negi as the 144-strong Air Force contingent marched to the tunes of `Air Battle`.

She was cheered by thousands of spectators as the commentator mentioned that she is the first woman to lead an Air Force contingent in the 63-year-old history of the parade.

Shekhawat is at posted with the IAF squadron at Hindon air base.

She was the face of elegance and confidence as she led the 144-member strong Air Force contingent marching to the tunes of its band playing `Air Battle`.

The Agni-IV, successfully flight tested last November, stole the limelight as people cheered when the missile which can carry nuclear weapons was rolled out on the majestic Rajpath.

The Intermediate Range Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile mounted on a road mobile launcher was paraded by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The elite organisation also put on display for the first time the 150 km range Prahaar Tactical Battlefield Support Missile and the Rustom-1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

Indigenously designed and developed RUSTOM-1, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), was another eye-catcher at the parade.

The medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (Male UAV) has been developed by the DRDO with Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) in Bangalore.

RUSTOM-I, named after late Prof Rustom B Damania will replace or supplement the Heron UAVs in service with the Indian armed forces.

It has has the potential military missions like reconnaissance and surveillance, target acquisition, target designation, communications relay, battle damage assessment and signal intelligence.

Three of the six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft recently bought from the US was another first in the parade. The sixth aircraft was brought as late as November 2011.


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