As India's aerospace hub, Bangalore is abuzz with hectic activity
for the south Asia's largest air show, AeroIndia 2011, from
Wednesday at the Yelahanka air base on the city's outskirts where
fighter jets, transport aircraft and choppers and aerospace
systems will scramble for global attention.
"The eighth edition of AeroIndia is the largest ever with about
675 exhibitors, including 380 from 29 countries and 295 domestic
firms, participating in the five-day trade expo to showcase their
latest aerospace technologies and products for Indian and
international markets," a senior defence official told IANS.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony will flag-off the air show in the
presence of Minister of State for Defence Production M.M. Pallam
Raju, chiefs of the Indian armed forces and military delegations
from the world over.
Official delegations from 36 countries, including the big five -
Britain, Germany, France, Russia and the US - are visiting the
biennial event to promote their global aerospace majors for new
collaborations, partnerships and joint ventures with Indian
state-run and private enterprises.
"The US delegation, led by its Assistant Secretary of State for
Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro, will be the largest
with 250 members, including officials, chief executives and
experts in the field at the aero show," the official said.
Other major delegations will be from Germany with 35 members and
Eight countries - Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Israel,
Italy, Russia and the US - have put up dedicated pavilions for
their respective aerospace companies and organisations.
Similarly, about 70,000 business delegates from 70 countries will
make a beeline to the military and civil aviation trade show,
while a whopping 275,000 general visitors are expected to throng
the venue for witnessing the static and flying display.
About 100 military and civil aircraft, including 47 foreign planes
and different helicopters, will be on static or flying display.
India's indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas will be the
star attraction, as it is the world's first lightweight multi-role
combat aircraft. Tejas would demonstrate its potent strike force
with spectacular flying displays and breathtaking aerobatics in
"This will be first time when a fleet of 10 Tejas, including a
trainer variant and a naval variant will be on static and flying
display to showcase its air prowess," state-run Aeronautical
Development Agency (ADA) Director P.S. Subramanyam said on the eve
of the air show.
Besides Tejas, the Indian defence R&D establishments and state-run
behemoths like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat
Electronics Limited (BEL) will display a range of jets, unmanned
aircraft (Nishant), pilotless target aircraft (Lakshya) and
ground-based systems such as radars, electronic warfare systems
and airborne early warning systems.
"We are demonstrating the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH),
Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) Hawk
and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) at the event, besides the
flagship products," an HAL official said.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will also display its air prowess with
its fleet of Sukhois, MiGs, Mirages and Jaguars.
Among the aircraft to fly at the air show are contenders for the
IAF $10 billion tender for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA)
such as European consortium EADS' Eurofighter Typhoon, US majors
Boeing's F/A-18 and Lockheed Martin's F-16s, Swedish SAAB's Gripen
and Dasault's Rafale.
Only the heavy Russian MiG-35, the sixth competitor in the fray
for the MMRCA order, will not fly this time.
The show will have a flying display in the morning and evening on
all days and the major attraction will be the Czech Republic's
Flying Bulls aerobatic team, which will stage its synchronised
flying skills with four Zlin 50LX aircraft.
The Bulls will have company from IAF's Suryakirans, a
nine-aircraft team, flying their Kiran MkII trainer jets along
with the ALH Sarang team.
This year's air show will outnumber all previous figures in terms
of participating countries, companies, space and business, with a
70 percent increase in gross exhibition area to 75,000 square
metres from 44,000 square metres in 2009.