India’s Sarang helicopter team abandon Singapore Airshow plans

SINGAPORE | One of the Indian Air Force’s aerobatic teams has had to cancel its planned performance at the Singapore Airshow next month after the Ministry of Defence failed to approve the plans.

According to The Hindu, the Sarang aerobatic team were due to perform at the show, scheduled to be held on the 11th-16th February, at the invitation of the Singaporean authorities, but approvals within the Indian government were delayed at “various levels”, sources said.

According to the article, the final decision rested with India’s Ministry of Defence for over a month, with no action taken. Despite allowing extra time, Singaporean authorities have finally been forced to pull the plug on the team’s participation, saying there was no longer time to resolve airspace and safety concerns.

With just days to go, the Singapore Airshow have still not confirmed their flying display line up. However, the Republic of Korea Air Force’s Black Eagles and the United States Air Force’s F-22A Raptor Demonstration Team have self-confirmed their participation. India’s HAL Tejas fighter is also rumoured to be planning an appearance.

Based at Yelahanka Air Force Station, Sarang fly four HAL Dhruv helicopters in a display that lasts approximately 15 minutes. Formed in 2003, their first international display was at Asian Aerospace in Singapore the following year, although they have not returned to Singapore since. Their first and only European tour came in 2008, with the team flying at Farnborough and Biggin Hill.

Sarang were most recently due to fly abroad at the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition 2017 in Malaysia, but this display was cancelled at short notice. A Ministry of Defence spokesperson at the time told This is Flight that there were no plans for the team to participate at the show, despite the team being featured prominently on the event’s website for several weeks.