NEW DELHI -- India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) developed indigenously made their maiden appearance at the Republic Day parade here on Thursday.
Despite overcast conditions, three fighter jets flew at a height of 300 metres from ground at a speed of 780 km per hour in 'VIC' formation, leaving the spectators at Rajpath boulevard in awe.
The LCA was earlier flown at the Indian Air Force Day last year. It was also flown at the IAF's fire power demonstration Iron Fist, Aero India, and the Bahrain International Airshow.
Indigenously developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency, and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Tejas, as a fourth generation aircraft, can fly at 1,350 km per hour and is comparable to the world's best fighters, including French Mirage 2000, American F-16 and Swedish Gripen.
The fighter jet was inducted into 45th Squadron of the Indian Air Force in July 2016 with two aircraft. The plan is to increase the production of aircraft from the present eight to 16 aircraft each year.
The AEW&C is an 'Eye in the Sky' and a force multiplier. The system consists of multiple sensors for surveillance and signal intelligence. It helps in air defence operations.
The indigenously developed Dhanush artillery gun also made its debut at the Republic Day parade. The gun was part of the Army's mechanised columns along with Akash missile and Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System.
Manufactured by Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory, the 155-mm gun cost about Rs 14.50 crore a piece. It is a modified version of Bofors Howitzers gun bought by India in the 1980s.
T-90 Bhisma Tanks, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2K, Weapon Locating Radar Swathi, CBRN Reconnaissance Vehicle were also included in the parade.
Along with that, India's elite counter-terrorism force, the National Security Guard (NSG), on Thursday made its debut at the Republic Day parade.
A contingent of some 60 commandoes in their black overalls and full armed gear marched on the Rajpath, giving ceremonial salute to President Pranab Mukherjee. The other commandos were on seven vehicles with hydraulic ladders mounted on them.
NSG's anti-hijacking van 'Sherpa' - a bullet proof armoured vehicle that can withstand powerful explosions and can be driven under water and on steep inclines - also made its debut in the parade.
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