Surya Kiran to be back at Aero India after 6 years

Surya Kiran to be back at Aero India after 6 years
After six years, the IAF’s Surya Kiran aerobatics team is set to return to the Aero India show in Bengaluru with a new aircraft.

The six-aircraft team will perform at the biennial air show to be held at the Yelahanka air force station between February 14 and 18.

The internationally acclaimed team was dismantled in 2011 when the Indian Air Force decided to use the Kiran Mk-II aircraft, flown by the Surya Kiran group, for training.

The decision was taken due to an acute shortage of training aircraft as the Air Force had grounded its entire fleet of 1988 vintage HPT-32 trainers after 23 pilots were killed and 108 engine cuts were reported in the recent years.

The pilot training programme was modified as only Kiran Mk-II and Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft were available.

After the introduction of Pilatus PC-7 as the basic trainer, the Indian Air Force revived the Surya Kiran team with six Hawk aircraft.

The team has been practising since 2015 and has performed before limited audiences since October 8, celebrated as Indian Air Force Day. Aero India 2017 would be their first major public outing.

Recent performances

“The team showcased their dazzling air display skills at the passing-out ceremony of the National Defence Academy, and also flew recently in Odisha. They will enthral the Bengaluru audience at Aero India now,” a source told DH. The Surya Kiran team is based in Bidar.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force is set to retire the Kiran Mk-II aircraft, used for intermediate flight training, in a year or two. But in the absence of a replacement, a rookie pilot would first learn to fly a Pilatus PC-7 before graduating to a Hawk.
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