On Thursday, India marked its Republic Day with a grand parade and flypast in the capital city of Delhi. Among the 50 aircraft that participated in the event was the Ilyushin IL-38SD (Sea Dragon), a maritime surveillance aircraft that has served the Indian Navy for more than 40 years. This was the final flight of the IL-38, as the aircraft has been retired after over 10,000 hours of active service.
The IL-38 aircraft, first introduced in 1977, played a crucial role in the Navy’s maritime surveillance duties. On its final day of operation, the aircraft conducted a seven-hour mission sortie and was still fully functioning at that point. Along with the IL-38, the Vajrang and Bheem formations were also shown above the Kartavya Path for the first time.
Glimpses of #RepublicDay2023
Tableaux. @SpokespersonMoD pic.twitter.com/5jCMYQfKhE
— PRO Nagpur, Ministry of Defence (@PRODefNgp) January 26, 2023
In total, 45 Indian Air Force planes, one Indian Navy aircraft, and four Indian Army helicopters participated in the Republic Day flypast. The aircraft displayed 13 different formations, including arrowhead, abreast, and others, using aircraft such as the Rafale, Mig-29, and SU-30.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his respects to the country’s fallen troops by visiting the National War Memorial at India Gate before the parade began. He then arrived at the base of the Kartavya Path salute to greet leaders from Egypt. A ceremonial salute was fired from 105-mm Indian field cannons, symbolizing India’s self-reliance in the field of defense.
The parade also featured a display of modern fighting tools and equipment by the Indian Army, including the NAG Missile System (NAMIS), Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT), and Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicle. Overall, the event showcased India’s military strength and honored its past and present servicemen and women.