Chinook, Rafale steal mega air show in J-K’s Udhampur

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The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) two-engined tandem-rotor Chinook and newly inducted Rafale fighter aircraft stole the show at the air show that was held in Udhampur on Wednesday.

As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the visitors saw Chinook helicopter in action, which came last in the flypast sequence but raised goosebumps of spectators, that includes school children, NCC cadets, families of defence personnel and senior air force and army officials.

Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Air Marshal S Prabhakaran, Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Air Command and Air Vice Marshal PK Vohra, AVSM, VM, AOC-in-C were also present to witness the air show along with other senior military, para-military personnel and various civil dignitaries.

The Chinook performed manoeuvres on emergency falls, vertical climb turning and horizontal flying.

The multi-mission helicopter made two such runs, much to the excitement of the large crowd that gathered to watch the show. Indian Air Force had inducted four Chinook heavy-lift choppers in 2019.

India paid close to USD 1.5 billion for 15 of these helicopters which would be also used for deploying troops and machinery at high altitude locations.

The attraction of the show was most talked about aircraft of recent time, Rafale, which enthralled the viewers with its roaring sound and unmatched manoeuvres.

The aircraft flew in low form for the southern side of the runway and passed the venue within fraction of seconds and disappeared in high clouds. Many in the audience just recognized its smog and roar and weren’t able to get its glimpse during the first appearance. However it again makes entry to perform a tactical stunt.

India and France had signed a €7.87 billion inter-governmental agreement (IGA) in September 2016 for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition.

The first unit of Rafale aircraft was stationed at Ambala Air Force Station in 2020 under 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’.

The flypast not only displayed state-of-the-art warplanes like Rafale and Sukhoi and helicopters like Chinook and Apache, but it also displayed IAF’s prowess as it showcased its combat operations as well as civil missions in front of people including civilians who came to experience the might of the Indian Air Force.

The flypast under IAF’s Air and Statistical Display featured the finest coordination of air force’s old as well as new aircraft.

The flypast began with skydiving by a team of Akash Ganga from An32 and was followed by dazzling air manoeuvres by the Jaguar aircraft.

In addition to this, the other aircraft and helicopters on-air display in Udhampur were Rafale, MiG-29, Sukhoi-30 MKI, Super Hercules, Apache and Chinook.

Notably, the stunning air display in J-K Udhampur demonstrated the ability of the Indian Air Force to operate in the tough terrains of the Union Territory bordering China and Pakistan.

This event was a first of its kind in Udhampur which successfully brought the IAF closer to the hundreds of students from various schools and colleges who attended the event and were enthralled by it. (KNO)

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