For the first time in the Republic Day flypast, the newly inducted Rafale fighter aircraft took part in the ‘Brahmastra’ formation and also again in the ‘Eklavya’ formation along with four other fighter jets. People watched in awe as the Rafale aircraft flying horizontally from the Rashtrapati Bhavan side went vertical, while carrying out a series of rolls, and disappeared in the blue skies.
The 25,000 strong audiences could see the Rafale fighter jet traversing at a low altitude for some distance and then pulling up vertically at 90 degrees and rolling over before stabilising at a higher altitude. Joel siblings who came all the way from Yamunanagar, Haryana to attend the ceremonial event, were ecstatic to see Rafale take to the sky at the celebrations for the first time. “That ‘Vertical Charlie’ by Rafale at the end was a total show-stopper. It was my first time at a Republic Day, and less crowd actually helped me enjoy the event more. I must admit, Rafale’s aerial manoeuvre was just scintillating,” said 24-year-old Mayank Goel, an engineer.
His sister Kirti Goel, who attended it for the second time, when asked, what was the most amazing experience from the 2021 Republic Day event at Rajpath, she quipped, “Rafale’s aerial stunt”.
A total of 38 IAF aircraft and four planes of the Indian Army participated in the flypast on this Republic Day. In a major boost to India’s air power capability, five French-made multirole Rafale fighter jets were inducted into the IAF on September 10 last year.