The indigenously manufactured Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' will display its flying skills at Rajpath on the Republic Day, reveal Indian Air Force officials.
It is the first time that this aircraft is going to be part of the Republic Day flypast. Talking about Tejas' participation in the Republic Day Flypast, Air Commodore Rajiva Ranjan, Principal Director, Air Defence and Weapons System told ANI, "First time after a gap of almost 20 to 22 years you are going to see an indigenous fighter aircraft after a long break. Earlier we have flown the Maruts. Five aircraft formation will fly over Rajpath during the Republic Day parade."
Maruts were the fighter-bombers manufactured by HAL during the 60s. It was India's first jet aircraft. Although the participation of the Aircraft is final but the number of aircraft participating in flypast is not yet final. The officer told ANI that it is not sure that whether three aircraft will fly ion formation or there will be only one.
LCA by now has clocked 2000 hrs till date in its 3000 sorties and without any accident. The recently retired Air Chief Arup Raha had said before his retirement that "In November 2016, the Indian MoD cleared the purchase of a first batch of 83 Mark-IA LCA. The IAF is also currently slated to receive 40 Tejas Mark-I aircraft by early 2018," The induction of Tejas into the Indian Air Force is being done in a phased manner. IAF is also pitching for additional and more advanced LCA Mk 1A. The LCA Squadron is presently operating from Bangalore and will be moved to Sulur near Coimbatore later.
35 Aircraft will be participating in the flypast this year. The public will be able to see Combat Aircraft like the Jaguars, SU 30, and LCA Tejas. There will be MI 35 and MI17 V5 along with the Light Combat Helicopter Rudra and LCH Dhruv. C17 Globemaster and the C130J Hercules will be the transport aircraft flying past in various formations along the Rajpath.