No Su-30 aerobatic show, 2nd time in row

grounded IAF official cites December 13 crash as reason

Three Sukhoi-30 MKIs flew past the parade when the cadets marched past the quarterdeck. But those who were expecting more manoeuvres from in the form of aerobatics after the Passing out Parade (PoP), were in for disappointment for the second time. The Sukhoi aerobatics or Sarang helicopter team shows were replaced by aerobatics performed by NDA's in-house Super Dimona trainer aircraft. While an IAF official cited the recent mishaps with the Su-30 fighter jet as the reason behind this, a retired officer said it would be inappropriate to jump the gun.

Interestingly, the Sukhoi association with the NDA PoP dates back to about eight years — two years after it was inducted into the IAF in 2002. The Jaguars and later Sukhois doing the flypast has been a common feature of the PoP of the NDA.

The flypast would be followed by an air show or the IAF Sarang helicopter team/ Suryakiran team performing breathtaking stunts. While the show has not been mandatory, it has been continuing with occasional breaks in between. For instance, in 2009 the Sarang team performed. In May 2010, when Defence Minister A K Antony reviewed the parade, a Su-30 aircraft performed aerobatics. At a review by Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, the pomp was unmatched. A Su-30 and a team of Sarang helicopters performed to the tune of Jaanbaz Hum Chalein. Last year, in May, chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma reviewed the parade, which was followed by a Su-30 air show with Wing Commander Sajan displaying breathtaking stunts of the air dominance fighter.

In the last two parades, the Su-30 airshow has been called off. "It is because of the December crash of the Su-30 aircraft near Pune," said an IAF official. On December 13 last year, a Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter crashed near the city. This was followed by a Su-30 aircraft skidding off the runway while landing.

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