Military & Aerospace

IAF Celebrates its 90th Air Force Day at Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
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Issue Vol. 38.1, Jan-Mar 2023 | Date : 07 Apr , 2023

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All arms of the Indian defence forces, known and acknowledged to be the finest across the globe, are famous for executing missions with precision, style and panache, be it conflict, war or peace.

Maintaining same highest standards of tradition and professionalism, Indian Air Force, 4th largest in the world, celebrated its 90th Air Force Day in 2022 on the banks of iconic Sukhna Lake at Chandigarh, the city beautiful.

It was the first time that the Air Force Day was celebrated outside Delhi NCR in which nearly 80 military aircrafts and helicopters which included MiG-21, MiG-29, Su-30, Mirage 2000, Jaguar, Tejas and Rafale, besides C-17, C-130, IL-76, AN-32, AWACS and also Mi-17, Apache, Mi-35, Dhruv and Chinook helicopters. The Akash Ganga team of IAF daredevil skydivers also participated in the parade.

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Hon’ble President of India, who is also the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, was the Chief Guest of the function. Hon’ble Defence Minister of India, Governors of both Punjab and Haryana and many other dignitaries also graced the occasion with their presence. A large crowd gathered on Sukhna lake cheered every time sentinels of our skies exhibited their manoeuvres while flying past overhead.

Audience and spectators were enthralled with various moves and formations displayed by Akash Ganga, Surya Kiran and Sarang aerobatic teams including a C-17 heavy-lift aircraft trailed by nine Hawk-132 jet trainers from the Surya Kiran display team. Daredevil and gravity defying heroic aerobatics like Barrel Rolls, Vertical Charlie, inverted G flying, release of flares and many more edge of the seat feats stole the hearts of one and all. For almost more than two hours, people kept their necks craned skywards and watched the show without batting an eyelid.

The Sekhon formation, named after the only IAF PVC awardee (posthumously) till date, Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon brought back poignant but proud memories of this valiant pilot who despite being heavily outnumbered routed the enemy aircrafts in a gallant fight, forcing them to retreat but not before making supreme sacrifice for the motherland.

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Dr. Arun Khanna, Panchkula based internationally awarded hobbyist Photographer covered the Air Force Day rehearsals on 3rd and 4th October and the final show on 8th October.

He has shared twelve photos, one for each month of the New Year 2023, from his collection which are presented here for our readers.

With shutter speeds hovering around 1/400th to 1/500th of a second, photos in this ensemble have been clicked even at 1/1000th to 1/2500th of a second.

These images offer a delightful visual odyssey and are bound to transport the viewer into the aircraft cockpit in his/her imagination and fantasize as if he or she is actually living the moment and performing those gravity defying actions.

Arun’s keen sense of observation, eye on detail, perfect timing, post processing aesthetics and commitment have helped him earn his place in the realm of Photography. Being the first Honorary Doctorate in Photography in the country is only one of the many unique achievements and milestones he has achieved.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Dr Arun Khanna

Dr. Arun Khanna is a Panchkula based internationally awarded hobbyist Photographer. He has retired as Genretal Manager from the top Oil & Gas PSU of India. Besides being the first Honourary Ph.D in Photography in the country, his photos have been exhibited in more than 25 countries. He occasionally contributes to Indian Defence Review. Two photo galleries of his works have been commissioned in Lucknow and Chandigarh. He can be contacted at

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