As curtains go up for Aero India, the biennial aerospace and defence exposition, at Yelahanka air base, many hopes are riding on the 'Make in India' slogan coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Many global majors are expecting to get leads or business at the show that begins on Wednesday.
“The SME sector is hoping for a lot of business to emerge from Aero India,” said Sudhakar Gande, chairman, FICCI Task Force (aerospace and defence), adding “such events give opportunities to small players to play with the big boys. For this, a little hand-holding from those who know and understand the industry is essential.”
Ever since the inaugural event in 1996, Aero India has been by far the biggest event as far as the Indian aerospace sector is concerned. The event which will conclude on Sunday, will be the largest ever in India, both in terms of confirmed participants as well as the delegations from across the world.
The ‘Make in India’ slogan has given an impetus to many a business as now there is a clarity as to where India is headed. “It’s the first such serious effort on the part of Indian government,” said Kishore Jayaraman, president — India & South Asia, Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce’s businesses in India straddle aerospace, defence and power generation, among others.
The event, which saw Russian Knights, the Russian aerobatic team, take the audience's breath away in 2013, will not see any Russians performing death-defying aerobatics with their Sukhois. The sanctions on Russia imposed by the Western nations, suspecting it of fuelling the civil war in Ukraine by supporting the rebels, seems to have prompted the absence of many Russian majors.
However, beyond all the eye-catching stuff are a lot of businesses that usually takes place during this period. Over 300 foreign firms, along with 54 ministerial and other high-level delegations from several countries, are participating in this year’s event.
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, the UK with 48, Russia with 41, Israel 25 and Germany 17, a Ministry of Defence spokesperson 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 that has been shortlisted for acquisition by the Indian Air Force, will perform aerobatic displays.
AIRCRAFT TO BE SHOWCASED
- F-15C Eagles
- F-16C Fighting Falcons
- Boeing KC-135 tanker
- C-17 Globemaster III
- P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft