Aero India set to take off tomorrow, PM to inaugurate

RSTV Bureau

Asia’s premier air show, “Aero India”, will take off on Wednesday with global armament majors eyeing the multi-billion dollar Indian defence market, seeking to align with the “Make in India” campaign of the Narendra Modi government.

With metal birds having already landed and prepped up, the Air Force Station at Yelahanka in the IT city is all set to host the 10th edition of the biennial five-day international edition of the aerospace and aviation exhibition to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi will be the second Prime Minister to inaugurate the event after H D Deve Gowda in 1996.

Over 300 foreign firms along with 54 ministerial and other high-level delegations from several countries will be taking part in this year’s event, said to be the largest ever air show to be hosted so far in India.

The US with 64 companies will have the largest presence at the show in which 33 other countries are taking part. Behind the US is France with 58 companies, UK 48, Russia 41, Israel 25 and Germany 17, organisers said.

Seven of the 11 foreign military aircraft on display will be American – two F-15C Eagles, two F-16C Fighting Falcons, one Boeing KC-135 tanker, one C-17 Globemaster III and a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.

Three Rafale fighters of French giant Dassault- shortlisted for acquisition by the IAF – will fly aerobatics displays. Negotiations over the deal for 126 aircraft are facing rough weather with efforts underway to resolve it.

India’s Light Combat Aircraft “Tejas” will be participating in the formation flight display, Defence Research and Development Organisation officials said.

In another significant dimension, a high level Israeli delegation, including senior Ministry of Defence officials, led by Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon will be in attendance at the show, preceding their high-level meetings in Delhi, as the two countries warm upto to a new level of relationship.

Israel ranks among India’s top three defence equipment suppliers after US and Russia.

The number of aircraft participating in static and air displays is tentatively 72. Indian Air Force’s Sarang Team and air display teams from Sweden, UK, Czech Republic and open sky jump by USA Special Forces will dazzle the Bengaluru skies with their daredevil aerobatics.