IAF's aerobatics team 'Suryakiran' will participate at Malaysia's Langkawi 2007 show

Kuala Lumpur: The Indian Air Force''s aerobatics team, the ''Suryakirans,'' or the "Sunrays" in Hindi, will be making their debut appearance in Malaysia next week at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2007.

The Bidar, Karnataka- based team is part of the international aerobatics teams that have been specially invited to show off their flying skills at LIMA 2007.

Apart from the Suryakirans, other aerobatics teams that will perform are the British Royal Air Force''s "Red Arrows" which arrived yesterday and the Royal Malaysian Air Force''s own Hawk, Su-30MKM Flanker, MiG-29N Fulcrum and F/A-18D Hornet pilots.

"We are grateful that they will be able to participate this time," RMAF Air Division One commander, Gen. Datuk Jusof Embong told reporters. The presence of the Suryakiran aerobatics team assumes significance for Malaysia, he said, as the country is celebrating its 50th independence anniversary.

Jusof also said that the Suryakiran team had a total of 13 pilots, of whom only nine fly at any given time and were selected from the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

They must have experience in flying Mirage 2000s, Jaguars, MiG-23s, MiG-27 and at least 1,000 flying hours with Indian made Kiran MKII before being able to be considered to join the team, he said, adding that the pilots are also qualified flying instructors and were regarded as among the best fighter pilots in the IAF.

Jusof also said that a qualified technical team, and an administrator who also does the job of commentator during public displays, would assist the team.