The newly inducted Rafale fighter aircraft will feature in the Republic Day parade on January 26 for the first time and culminate the flypast by carrying out the “Vertical Charlie” formation, PTI reported on Monday, citing Wing Commander Indranil Nandi.
A total of 38 Indian Air Force aircraft and four planes of the Indian Army will participate in the flypast on Republic Day, Nandi said.
In the “Vertical Charlie” formation, an aircraft flies at low altitude, pulls up vertically and conducts rolls before stabilising at a higher altitude.
The formal induction ceremony of the first batch of five Rafale jets into Indian Air Force 17 Squadron was held in September last year, after the first batch of the aircrafts landed in July. The second batch of the jets arrived in November.
The Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in over two decades. It comes four years after the Narendra Modi government signed a deal with France for a total of 36 units, as part of a Rs 59,000-crore agreement.
The deal had become a major political issue during the Lok Sabha election campaign in 2019. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, among others, had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of treason and corruption multiple times, and alleged that he had acted as a middleman for industrialist Anil Ambani in the deal.