Aero India takes off in Bengaluru today
Author: Desk February 14, 2017
The 11th edition of Aero India a military aerospace exhibition will begin in Bengaluru today. It will have a thrust on “Make in India” campaign with global companies that are vying to set up fighter-jet producing factories in India will be in attendance.
Over 550 defence companies, including 279 from the US, Russia, the UK, France, and Israel among others, will mark their presence at the five-day event (February 14 to February 18) at the Indian Air Force (IAF) base Yelahanka.
New Delhi is looking for fighter jets for the Air Force and 57 jets for ship-deck operations of the Navy. It needs some 1,000 helicopters of various types and is looking for UAVs, besides a newer lot of transport planes. All these are to be made in India with foreign collaboration(s).
The IAF needs single-engine fighter jets to replace the MiG-21 series. Saab-developed Gripen-E and Lockheed Martin produced F-16 fighters are in the fray. The Americans and the Swedes have promised to set up an assembly line, in case they are selected to build the single-engine fighters.
For the Navy’s requirement of 57 jets, American company Boeing is pitching in with its F-A/18 super hornet that has land based and naval variant. The Rafale, of which the IAF is getting 36 jets, also has a ship-deck variant. Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on December 2 last year rejected the LCA-Navy variant, saying it did not have the power for ship-deck operations.
The home-made light combat aircraft (LCA), Tejas, will be flying at the airshow. Hindustan physics Limited’s “HTT-40”, a basic trainer aircraft; the first indigenously upgraded Hawk Mk132 trainer and also the light-weight combat whirlybird will fly. IAF’s Surya Kiran and Sarang units as well as by groups from Scandinavian country and also the kingdom can showcase their aerobatic skills.
The US are one amongst hugegest|the most important|the largest} exhibitors and Russia can be equally big, a reality that was not imaginable once the Aero Republic of India started in 1996.
India’s Cold War (1945-1991) military ally—Russia—may not be losing ground in terms of orders, but the “Make in Republic of India” thrust suggests that India currently has several suitors — notably France, Israel and Ukraine. The Stockholm International Peace analysis Institute in its latest report on “Trends in international arms transfers for the amount 2011-2015” predicted: “Based on existing orders and weapons, Russia will stay, by a significant distance, the main supplier of major arms to Republic of India for the predictable future.”
After 2008, the US won military contracts value $13 billion (approx Rs eighty five,000 crore). All those Cold-war years when Republic of India was in the Russia axis, the US did business value solely $500 million (approx Rs three,000 crore at today’s value). As of today, projects value $39 billion, including co-development of the next generation of fighter jets, are in the pipeline with Russian capital.