A-Sat missile ‘Shakti’, Dhanush artillery, Chinook , Apache copters make debut at Rajpath parade

NEW DELHI: Anti-satellite weapon “Shakti”, lethal artillery gun “Dhanush”, and newly-inducted helicopters Apache and Chinook were among the key military assets showcased by India for the first time at the Republic Day parade on Sunday. With space becoming a vital dimension of any country’s economic and military superiority, DRDO’s Anti-Satellite Weapon System which play a critical role in providing the necessary strategic deterrence was also displayed at the parade.

In March last year, the DRDO had launched “Mission Shakti”, India’s first A-SAT mission and demonstrated its anti-satellite technology. A live orbiting satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) was destroyed in a “Hit to Kill” mode with 10 centimetre accuracy, with the satellite and the missile approaching each other at a high speed of nearly 11 km per second.

Scaled down models of IAF’s Rafale aircraft and Indian Navy’s Kolkata-class stealth destroyer and a Kalvari-class submarine were also displayed during the ceremonial event. In the mechanised columns, three indigenously-developed battle tank T-90 Bhishma, three Ballaway Machine Pikate, three K-9 Vajra gun system, two transportable satellite terminal (TST) and two Akash surface-to-air-missiles, were also showcased.

The Apache and Chinook were among the main attractions as they flew across the clear blue sky, leaving the spectators spellbound. The helicopters, transport aircraft C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemasters, drew loud cheers from people as they showed their aerial manoeuvres.

US-made Chinook, twin-engine, tandem rotor is a multi-role, vertical-lift platform, which is used for transporting troops, artillery, equipment and fuel. Four Chinooks were inducted into the IAF in March last year. Eight US-made Apache stealth attack helicopters were inducted into the IAF in September last year, significantly boosting the force’s firepower capability. The three Chinooks flew in ‘vic’ formation followed by the Apache, the latest attack helicopters of the Indian Air Force. Five Apache helicopters flew past the huge crowd in ‘arrowhead’ formation.

After Apache came the “Eye in the Sky- Netra” formation, comprising a single AEW&C flanked by two Su-30 MKIs. Thereafter, three C-17 Globemasters, in “Displaced Trail Vic” formation called “Globe” formation flew past the dais, showcasing the IAF’s heavy lift capabilities. Besides Rafale, the IAF tableau also depicted scaled-down models four other systems recently added to its inventory — indigenously developed light combat aircraft Tejas, surface-to-air guided weapon Aakash missile and Astra missiles.

The Navy’s tableau also showcased model of country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant with MiG-29K aircraft and depicted the force’s humanitarian assistance during the Maharashtra floods last year.