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Surya Kiran (Sun Rays)

Suryakiran aerobatic team performing in the sky.


The first aerobatic team in Indian Air Force was formed in 1982 in occasion of its (IAF) Golden Jubilee. The team flies with nine Hawker Hunter F.56A airplanes from the 20th Squadron, painted in dark blue and white, under the name of ‘Thunderbolts’.

In 1990 the commandment decides to reorganise the team with four Indian built aircraft training planes HAL HJT,16 Kiran Mk.II.

On 27 May 1996 another two planes are added to the team plus one spare. Then the team receives its present name 'Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team' (SKAT). First demonstration under the new name took place on 8th October during Indian Air Force Day at Palam.

Surya Kiran Team

The nine aircraft take off in VICs (three plane vee) of three and join up in close formation, maneuvering between speeds of 150 and 650 Kmph with their wing tips a mere 5 metres apart. The various profiles undertaken are a series of dynamic combinations resulting in constantly changing formations.

The team consists of nine demonstration planes Kiran Mk.II and two spare, 13 pilots and about 50 technicians. The team's home base is ‘Bidar airbase’. All planes are equipped with smoke generators releasing red, white, blue and green smoke.

Besides the pilots, the team has a Flight Commander, an administrator and qualified Technical Officers. The Flight Commander is in charge of operational planning. The administrator, apart from looking after administrative requirement of the team, also provides the commentary during public displays. The Senior Engineering Officer (the SEO or ‘Spanner’), along with fifty technicians, has the task of maintaining and servicing the Team’s aircraft. In all technical aspects, the decision of the Chief Engineering Officer is the final word, whilst on detachments the Senior Engineering Officer of the team assumes this responsibility.

The team has displayed at a number of places across India. From the exhilarating chill of the Dal Lake, Srinagar where the tricolour was proudly streaked, to the sultry beaches of Trivendrum the Team has done more than sixty displays. Some of the notable displays, which the team has undertaken, have been the Aero India 1996, Aero India 1998 and Aero India 2001.In 2001 Surya Kiran made its foreign debut performing in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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