Anti-satellite missile capability showcased in R-Day parade

Chinook heavy lift helicopters and Apache attack helicopters also make their debut during the flypast

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:51 pm IST

Published - January 26, 2020 04:19 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The Air Force tableau followed by DRDO’s Anti-Satellite Weapons (ASAT) - Mission Shakti rolls down during the 71st Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26, 2020.

The Air Force tableau followed by DRDO’s Anti-Satellite Weapons (ASAT) - Mission Shakti rolls down during the 71st Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26, 2020.

India on Sunday showcased its Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile capability to the world as the ASAT weapon, Mission Shakthi, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) rolled out on the Rajpath during the 71st Republic Day parade. In addition, the IAF’s newest inductions, Chinook heavy lift helicopters and Apache attack helicopters, also made their debut during the flypast.

A DRDO marching contingent displayed the ASAT missile along with a second equipment, the Air Defence Tactical Control Radar (ADTCR), as President and Supreme Commander of the armed forces Ram Nath Kovind reviewed the parade with Chief Guest Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro in attendance.


There were 16 marching contingents this year including six from the Army and 22 tableaux from various States and departments in the 90-minute parade. The flypast consisted of 41 aircraft of the IAF and four helicopters of the Army Aviation. These include 16 fighters, 10 transport aircraft and 19 helicopters flying between 60-300 metres above ground level.

Pin point accuracy

On March 27, 2019 the DRDO shot down a live satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) of 300 km using a modified interceptor of the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system in ‘hit to kill’ mode with 10-cm accuracy. The Defence Ministry in a statement last week termed the test a major breakthrough in demonstrating the ASAT technology and that the ASAT weapons “play a critical role in providing the necessary strategic deterrence”.

Click here to read the President's address to the nation

“The covert technology of ‘hit to kill’ developed for the first time in India for such applications enables it to destroy an enemy satellite by directly colliding with it with pin-point accuracy,” a brochure issued by the Defence Ministry at the parade said.


The ADTCR is used for volumetric surveillance, detection, tracking and friend/foe identification of aerial targets of different types and transmission of prioritised target data to multiple command posts and weapon systems.

Three CH-47F(I) Chinook helicopters flew in a ‘vic’ formation followed by five AH-64E Apache helicopters which flew in ‘arrowhead’ formation. Both these helicopters were inducted into service last year. India has contracted 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook helicopters from Boeing through the Foreign Military Sales programme of the U.S. government in September 2015 under a $3-billion deal.

Guard of honour

In a change of tradition, before commencement of the parade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to fallen soldiers by laying a wreath at the flame of the immortal warrior at the National War Memorial (NWM), instead of the Amar Jawan Jyoti (AJJ) at the India Gate.

The NWM, inaugurated in February last year, is located at the ‘C’ Hexagon near the India Gate and was built in memory of about 22,500 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives for the country in the post-independence period. The AJJ will now be used only for regimental events and visiting dignitaries.

Among the Army’s marching contingents, marching for the first time on the Republic Day was a contingent from the Corps of Army Air Defence. The Army’s Signal Corps contingent was led by Capt. Tanya Shergill, a fourth generation officer.


The Army showcased its recent induction, the 155-mm Dhanush towed howitzer and K9-Vajra self-propelled artillery gun. Both, however, were part of the parade in the past. The Army is likely to constitute its first Dhanush regiment in March.

Click here for full list of Padma awardees

This is also the first Republic Day parade with a fourth four-star officer in attendance following the creation of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Gen. Bipin Rawat was present along with the three Service Chiefs. Symbolising this was a tri-service helicopter formation of three Advanced Light Helicopters from the three Services.

With a bright sun and fairly clear sky, the audience got a good view of the flypast and the parade culminated with a lone SU-30MKI performing a “vertical charlie” menuvore which drew the maximum applause.

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