Antony opens Asia's biggest air show in Bangalore

Bangalore, Feb 9 (ANI): Asia's biggest air show, Aero India 2011, was inaugurated today by Defence Minister AK Antony at Air Force Station, Yelahanka.

Asia's premier air show will be on from February 9 to 13 at Bangalore.

Inaugurating the Aero India 2011, Antony said: "International participation has gone up by 25 percent as compared to last edition. It shows India growing in bringing peace, and stability in the region."

He further said: "Aero India 2011 will showcase latest technology in the fields of military and civil aviation. The exhibition will also enhance Indians emergence as an attractive market, as these addition of air show is biggest in our region."

A fly past that was organised this morning had Indian Air Force aircraft, including Sukhoi 30, LPS Tejas and transport aircraft. The Surya Kiran aircraft aerobatic team performed its breath-taking manouvres.

India is displaying its indigenously built supersonic light combat aircraft and light combat helicopter for the first time.

The show is aimed at bringing under one roof, exhibitors and other stakeholders from all around the globe to showcase the best in aviation and related technologies and products.

Civil and military aerospace manufacturers from 30 countries, including the US, Britain, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Belgium, Brazil, Spain, Ukraine and the Netherlands, will participate in the show.

The flying displays will see some of the latest fighter planes, including Eurofighter Typhoons, Sweden's Gripen, the French Dassault Rafael, Boeing's F-16 Super Viper and Lockheed Martin's F-18 Super Hornet, besides unmanned aerial vehicles and helicopters.

Apart from the daily displays by IAF's Surya Kiran aerobatic team and Sarang helicopter display team, a major attraction at Aero India 2011, will be the debut by Flying Bulls Aerobatics Team at the air show.

Aero India 2011 is showcasing the latest international technologies in the field of military and civil aircraft, vital components for aircraft engines, avionics systems and sub-systems, airfield radars in the defence and aerospace sectors.

Country wise participation of top eight countries includes the USA, France, Germany, the UK, Russia, Italy, Belgium and Israel.

The organizers are estimating 1,75,000 general visitors, a growth of 29 percent over the last Aero India in 2009. Air Display Viewing Area (ADVA) has been significantly increased to cater to growing number of the public viewers.

The air displays will be held twice daily between 1000-1230 hrs and 1430-1700 hrs.

About 350 official business delegations from countries such as the US, Germany and Italy are attending the event alongwith about 1.75 lakh visitors. Among the countries that will participate are Afghanistan, Israel, the Maldives, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

All contenders are trying hard to woo the Indian defence players as the big deals which await clearance include an order for 126 combat jets worth 1.2 billion dollars, six mid-air refuelling tankers for two billion dollars, 197 utility helicopters for 750 million dollars, 22 attack choppers for 600 million dollars and a fleet of trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

The event is having the largest US participation to date. Top of the line aircraft like the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Super Hornet, C-17 Globemaster III, C-130J Hercules (recently procured by India) and KC-135 Stratotanker will be on display and participate in numerous flight demonstrations.

Around 100 types of civilian and military aircraft would be on display compared with 67 in 2009.

India's largest defence partner Russia is showcasing over 80 types of weaponry and will be represented by 35 companies at the upcoming Aero India 2011.

Russia is being represented by 35 companies, including MiG , Sukhoi, Almaz-Antei and Engineering Design Bureau.

There are 675 exhibitors in Aero India 2011 registering a 16 percent increase over the last edition that had 581 in all.

The next edition of Aero India will take place in 2013 in Bangalore from February 6 to 10. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)