The Sarang Helicopter Aerobatic Team of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will put up an aerobatic show at the passing out parade of 134th course of National Defence Academy (NDA) in the last week of May in Pune.
A senior NDA official told TOI, “The Sarang has been performing its show for the past two years on the day of the PoP. The show has not only mesmerised people but also inspired larger number of youngsters to join the force.”
The Sarang team has evolved from the ALH Evaluation Flight (AEF) which was formed in 2003 at Bangalore to evaluate the indigenous helicopter prior to its induction into operational service. Also known as Pole Star, the chopper is an all-weather, multi-mission capable helicopter.
In June 2004, the Flight was converted into the 151 Helicopter Unit and the fledgling team was christened ‘Sarang’ which in Sanskrit means Peacock, thus symbolising the national bird.
The synchronized aerial ballet of four brightly painted metal birds draws comparisons with the graceful dance of a Peacock. The Unit moved to Yelahanka and subsequently to Sulur, near Coimbatore in 2009, where it has been based since.
The beautifully painted Sarang helicopters may look deceiving but can rapidly transform into mean machines, ready to serve the nation as and when the need arises.
Apart from the primary role of Display Flying, the team serves as an instrument to project the national power. The unit has also participated in several operations towards Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
The professionalism of the team towards undertaking any mission was displayed in June 2013 when it was at the forefront of rescue operations in flood-hit Uttarakhand.