The aerobatics display by the Russian Air Force’s Knights on their Sukhoi planes were missed on the first two days of the five-day Aero India 2013, billed as the top-most attraction for aviation enthusiasts this year, with the Union Home Ministry applying brakes on the team reaching the Yelahanka air base here.
The Russian Knights, who fly nine Su-27 planes, were in fact replacing the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Suryakiran aerobatics team which has been part of the Aero India’s previous editions, but could not participate after it was temporarily disbanded in 2011 following their HAL-built Kiran MkII planes were diverted to train rookie IAF pilots.
The Russian Knights have already reached IAF’s Hindon air base outside Delhi on Wednesday after a two-day delay due to inclement weather over their Kunbika air force base outside Moscow.
However, they were yet to be given permission by the Home Ministry to fly down to Yelahanka, government sources said in New Delhi.
“They landed at Hindon at 3 pm on Wednesday. Their planes are on the ground as the ministry is yet to give permission for them to fly down to Yelahanka,” the sources said.
However, no reason has been cited by the Home Ministry, they added.
“If they get permission, they would fly down to Yelahanka on Friday and may perform on Saturday and Sunday when the air show is thrown open to the general public too,” another source said.
The Indian Air Force’s Suryakiran will get to perform again at the Aero India shows only in the 2017 or 2019 edition, with the government considering a proposal to order 20 Hawks Advanced Jet Trainers from the British company BAE Systems for the team.
In fact, the Suryakiran will be reraised, may be with a new name, the sources added.