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Aero India 2019 Commences Amidst Crash Tragedies

Staff Correspondent

Bengaluru: The 12th edition of the show which was inaugurated today by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, with 61 aircraft on display and 403 exhibitors. Over 200 foreign companies are participating in the country’s largest air show.

Inviting investors to capitalise in the sector to boost manufacturing in India, the defence minister in her inaugural speech said that the show intends to put India on the global map to be a “runway to a billion opportunities. The contribution in aerospace from this part of India (Bengaluru) is very high. We have released a coffee table book which shows the achievements of young start-ups. Start-ups are making a very big difference in the aerospace industry.”

Union Minister of Civil Aviation, and Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu announced “India will purchase 2,300 new airplanes. We are coming up with the strategy to set up the roadmap and ecosystem to improve the manufacturing destination in India. There are 103 airports and we want to build another 100 in coming years. We want to connect remote areas of the country to air, investing 65 billion dollars. Under the Udan, scheme, we launched a program to connect 235 new destinations.”

“India has introduced procedural reforms in defence manufacturing. We have space for everyone including of DPSUs, private firms and others. Aero India Show is a mega event that showcases India’s capabilities and strength in aerospace,” said Minister of State (MoS) for Defence Dr Subhash Bhamre. Ahead of the inauguration of the show, a two-minute silence was observed to pay tributes to the pilot who died in Tuesday’s crash. Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi was killed while two other pilots were injured when a BAR Hawk jet of the IAF’s Surya Kiran crashed near the Yelahanka air base after grazing another jet while practicing aerobatic manoeuvres.

For the first time there will be round table of Chief Executive Officers, Drone Olympics, Start-Up Manthan and celebration of women achievers. During the inauguration flypast and aerial stunts were performed by IAF’s Su-30, Jaguar, MiG-21, LCA Tejas, HTT-40, the ALH Dhruv, Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and foreign aircraft including the Dassault Rafale, F-16 and the B-52 Stratofortress of the US Air Force.

Defence Industry Announcements

Kalyani Group, the parent company of the metal forgery major Bharat Forge, meanwhile displayed a small jet engine they developed in-house as a proactive R&D effort. “We have also set up a UAV team that built a drone after we tasked it do so in October last year. We have now asked them to develop a quadracopter that can light weights of up to 50 kg to serve soldiers in High Altitude Areas,” said Bharat Forge’s CMD Baba Kalyani during a media interaction. He however said the firm’s focus remains metal forgings it supplies to various companies involved in both civilian and defence manufacturing.

“(Another) new area we are venturing into are seekers. We are trying to develop effective ones to be installed on precision ammunition and warheads,” he added. He also lauded both the MoD, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the DRDO for their proactive coordination with the private industry.

In another industry development, Russian Helicopters, the Russian government-owned rotary wing aircraft manufacturer, signed an MoU with five companies for manufacturing of spare parts. They are Eleon Innovations Pvt Ltd, Integrated Helicopter Services, Valdel Advanced Technologies, Dynamatic Technologies Ltd and Bharat Forge Ltd.