Sunday, April 18, 2021

The time when India had dancing elephant helicopters

On January 26, soldiers marched along the Rajpath Boulevard, tanks rumbled by, and trucks carried performers showcasing all kinds of impressive stunts. There were few surprises until an unexpected guest appeared.

A flying elephant.

It was one of the helicopters belonging to IAF Helicopter Unit No. 116. According to some accounts, the unit was still equipped with original French Alouette IIIs, which could, in theory, mean it was the late 1960s. The entire body of the aircraft was covered in richly decorated textiles, complete with four hollow ‘legs’, two massive ‘ears’, a pair of ‘tusks’, and a massive ‘trunk’.

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