New Delhi: The anti-satellite missile (A-SAT), indigenous Dhanush artillery gun, attack helicopter Apache and transport chopper Chinook will for the first time take part in the Republic Day parade. The tableau of Rafale aircraft and indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant will also be an attraction during the parade. Putting speculations to rest, Christian hymn 'Abide with me,' a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi, will continue to figure in the list of tunes to be played during the Beating Retreat ceremony, said sources.
During the Republic Day Parade, a women CRPF team will under-take the motorcycle display. There will be 22 tableaus from state and government departments. India had successfully tested Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test last year in March where a missile fired by DRDO brought down a satellite moving in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). India is fourth such nation to have such capability after USA, Russia and China. Dhanush artillery gun will be part of the Republic Day parade for the first time this year. Its initial first batch of the gun was indicted last year but clearance for bulk production order of 118 of these guns to the Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) was given later.
The flypast by Indian Air Force will comprise of 41 aircraft of the Indian Air Force and four helicopters of the Indian Army's aviation arm. There will be 16 fighters, 10 transport aircraft and 19 helicopters.
Indian Air Force had started inducting Apache and Chinook last year. IAF has till date received 17 Apache helicopters and 10 Chinook helicopters. While IAF has received 4 Rafale jets but these are still in France and IAF pilots are getting trained on them. Rafale jets are expected to getting deployed in India by around April. Apache are all weather attack helicopters loaded with air to ground Hellfire missiles, whereas Chinook is an advanced multi-mission helicopter that provides Indian Air Force with unmatched strategic airlift capability.