Aero India from tomorrow: 675 firms to take part

Bangalore: With India offering a multi-billion dollar military hardware market, a total of 675 global and Indian defence and civilian aerospace companies will showcase their products and capabilities at the eighth edition of the Aero India air show starting here on Wednesday.

The show, which will be inaugurated by Defence Minister A K Antony, will see 380 foreign manufacturers from 30 different countries showcasing their military and civilian aerospace capabilities at the largest ever show alongside their 295 Indian counterparts.

The importance attached to India by weapon manufacturing countries can be gauged from the fact that there is a threefold increase in the number of delegations visiting the show — going up from a little over 100 to 350.

The US, which is offering a variety of weapon systems to India, is sending 250 delegations to attend the show followed by the Germany and Italy with 35 and 10 delegations, respectively.

This year again, the main highlight at the show would be the companies in the race for the USD 11 billion deal for 126 Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) for the Indian Air Force with five of the six participants bringing their fighters to the city for both static and flying displays.

With India looking at procuring over 600 helicopters in this decade, major chopper manufacturers including Eurocopter, Sikorsky, Agusta Westland and Russian Kamov are coming.

Indian public sector companies have also turned up in a big way to showcase the indigenous weapon manufacturing capabilities. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will come up with its indigenously-developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas and the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) for the first time at the show.

The show will also be used by the HAL to deliver an Advanced Light Helicopter to the Namibian Air Force. The number of aircraft in the static and flying display has seen a 62 per cent increase with around 100 civil and military aircraft present at the show.

A majority of the 295 Indian companies at the show are small and medium sized firms looking to make the most of opportunities arising out of the defence offsets clause of the defence procurement procedure.

The clause makes it mandatory for global vendors to reinvest at least 30 per cent of deals worth over Rs 300 crore back into Indian defence, civilian aerospace and internal security sector.

India`s premier aerospace company ISRO is also setting up a space stall that is expected to be a major attraction.