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— General Manoj Pande, Indian Army Chief

I am confident that SP Guide Publications would continue to inform, inspire and influence.

— Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Indian Navy Chief

My compliments to SP Guide Publications for informative and credible reportage on contemporary aerospace issues over the past six decades.

— Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari, Indian Air Force Chief

Airpower beyond Boundaries

Indian Air Force (IAF) is celebrating 91 years of Airpower Excellence and Triumph in the Skies

October 6, 2023 By Neetu Dhulia Photo(s): By Neetu Dhulia / SP Guide Pubns

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to celebrate its 91st Anniversary on October 8, 2023, with a grand Air Force Day Parade and Air Display in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. This year's theme, "IAF - Airpower Beyond Boundaries," reflects the force's commitment to excellence, innovation, and its significant role in safeguarding the nation's sovereignty.

Chief of the Air Staff Briefing

In a pre-event briefing, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari, emphasised the rich history of the IAF and its commitment to excellence and innovation. Paying homage to the pioneers, he highlighted the IAF's pivotal role in various operations and its dedication to staying technologically relevant.

Against the backdrop of a volatile geopolitical landscape, CAS emphasised the imperative for a robust military. The IAF, with its unique capabilities to see furthest, reach fastest, and hit hardest, plays a critical role in addressing challenges and projecting India's might in the Indo-Pacific region.

CAS highlighted the IAF's pivotal role in various operations, including humanitarian assistance, disaster relief missions, and evacuation efforts. Notable instances include Operation Kaveri and Operation Dost, showcasing the IAF's resilience and commitment to serving both national and global interests.

Acknowledging the ever-evolving nature of modern warfare, CAS underscored the IAF's commitment to staying technologically relevant. The force is actively embracing artificial intelligence, electronic warfare, space, and cyber capabilities. Simultaneously, CAS expressed dedication to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, emphasising the importance of indigenisation in defence production.

The speech shed light on the IAF's emphasis on research and development through initiatives like iDEX and Make programs. These efforts aim to integrate the latest technological breakthroughs into the armed forces, ensuring preparedness for future conflicts.

In a significant move, the IAF has introduced Innovation Managers, tasked with driving innovative initiatives in design and development. This move underscores the force's commitment to fostering innovation within its ranks and engaging with external partners.

CAS also discussed the importance of strategic partnerships through bilateral and multilateral engagements with foreign air forces. The lessons learned from these exercises contribute to refining training and operational philosophies.

Human resource management emerged as a top priority, with CAS stressing the importance of career progression, professional military education, and optimal personnel placement. The Agnipath scheme, aimed at enhancing combat preparedness, was highlighted, showcasing the IAF's commitment to its success.

Space operations took center stage as CAS highlighted the significance of a strong Aerospace force for national development. The IAF's gender-neutral stance was celebrated, with the force becoming the first to post a woman officer in command of a combat unit.

As the IAF embarks on its centenary decade, Chief of the Air Staff reassured the nation of the force's unwavering commitment to protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. The 91st Air Force Day celebrations are anticipated to be a spectacular showcase of the IAF's prowess, achievements, and dedication to serving the nation with distinction.

During the press conference, Jayant Baranwal, Editor-in-Chief of SP Guide Publications, engaged in a Q&A session with Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari

Jayant Baranwal: In the recently held IPACC Conference, US Army Chief said that India is perceived as a Regional Power. Can we ask you what all is needed be a Regional Power?

CAS: What he said is absolutely correct. The elements which are required to assert national power and influence can be summarised by the acronym DIME - Diplomatic prowess, Information, Military and Economic factors and these are all the pillars of design to be written as a regional power. We are on our way globally to be recognised as regional power.

Jayant Baranwal: Air Force has its own Base Repair Depots (BRD). What synergy and support will the BRD play to the Military Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) industry?

CAS: Our BRDs were originally set up as agencies for overhauling the aircraft and systems, which are not made in India. All of the Base Repairs were done for the Russian Helicopters, like the one in Chandigarh. They were purely catering to foreign equipment. Our Hawks and Kiran were done by the HAL. Now gradual change is taking place like the Sukhoi has a large element of Indian component and our BRDs are doing what HAL was doing. Upcoming Military MRO agency will facilitate the Indian content.

Venue and Tradition

Breaking away from tradition, the air display this year will take place in Prayagraj, at the confluence of Sangam, marking the second consecutive year the event moves beyond the Hindon air base in the National Capital Region. The change of venue adds a refreshing touch to the festivities.

Event Highlights

Approximately 120 fighter, transport, and helicopters will operate from 10 airbases, showcasing a diverse array of formations and displays. Notable aircraft, including the heritage Tigermoth and Harvard, alongside the newly inducted C295, will take part.

  • Debut of C295 Transport Plane: The recently inducted C295 transport plane, manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space, will make its debut in the Sugreev Formation. This versatile aircraft is set to replace the old Avro-748 planes and has already joined the 11 Squadron in September 2023.
  • Last Flypast by MiG-21: The iconic MiG-21 fighter jets will participate in the IAF Day flypast for the last time ever in any air-display, making way for the indigenously-developed Tejas Mark-1A aircraft from 2025 onwards. The procurement of 97 Tejas Mark-1A aircraft is nearing conclusion.
  • Vintage Beauties to adorn the skies: Tigermoth and Harvard will be in a combined display over the skies of Prayagraj in the Luv-Kush Formation.
  • Bharat Formation: Highlighting Rafale, LCA Tejas, and Su-30 MKI fighter jets.
  • Naval Element: The celebration will feature the Indian Navy's P-8I in the Varuna formation, emphasising the joint capabilities of the armed forces.

Aircraft Formation – IAF Day 2023

Aircraft Launch Base
Akash Ganga 10 Para Jumpers 1 X AN-32


Bheem Display Synchro Mano 2 X Chinook


Dhwaj + Tiranga Dhwaj Inverted Wine Glass Tiranga in VIC

4 X Chetak

3 X Kiran MK-II


Nakul Aerial Photography 1 X Jaguar




Eklavya VIC



2 X Apache

Luv and Kush Combined Display 1 X Tigermoth


1 X Harvard


Bheeshma VIC 1 X Dakota


2 X PC-7

Sugreev Single AC 1 X C295


Prithvi Arrowhead 1 X C-130 Agra
2 X AN-32 Agra
2 X Dornier-228


Netra VIC 1 X AEW&C


2 X MiG-29

Bakhshi Ka Talab


2 M-2000 Pre-Contact

1 X IL-78 Agra
2 M-2000 in Echelon 4 X M-2000


Varuna VIC

1 X P-8I (Indian Navy)

2 X M-2000


Arjun Arrowhead 1 X MiG-29 Bakhshi Ka Talab
2 X Rafale Bareilly
2 Su-30 MKI


Shamsher Arrowhead 5 X Jaguar


Tejas Arrowhead 5 X LCA


Drona + Suryakiran Drona Trailed by Suryakiran in Arrow 1 X C-17


9 X Hawk


Sarang Display Profile 5 X ALH


Suryakiran Display Profile 9 X Hawk


Bharat Coordinated Low Level Aerobatics 1 X LCA Prayagraj
1 X Rafale


1 X Su-30


Badal Arrowhead 3 X MiG-21 Bison

Bakhshi Ka Talab

2 X Rafale


Trishul VIC Followed by Trishul MANO 3 X Su-30