Curtains came down on the ninth biennial Aero India at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, here on Sunday, with breathtaking display by assorted aircraft relished by thousands of Bangaloreans, who made a beeline to the show venue.
The air show presented a mixed bag, witnessing several firsts and an equal number of misses.
The Boeing C-17 Globemaster-III, which India is buying following a deal of $ 4.1 billion for 10 such humungous aircraft; the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-7 trainer, which is the latest in the Indian Air Force’s kitty; and the vintage Tiger Moth de Havilland DH82 basic trainer aircraft graced the show for the first time; the scintillating maiden performance by Russia’s Sukhoi-flying aerobatic team ‘Russian Knights’ coupled with the Czech Flying Bulls’ aerobatics and helobatics from the Indian Air Force’s Sarang added sheen to the otherwise largely off-colour air display.
Dassault Rafale, with whom the price negotiation is under way for procurement of medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA), was at the show while notable absentees were the Saab’s JAS 37 Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, MiG 35 and Boeing A/F18, the other contenders in the deal, and also the IAF’s Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team.
Though Israel’s Rafael pitched in with its air and missile defence system Iron Dome, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne categorically downplayed its utility for the Indian conditions. The other big ticket deal, purchase of 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter for the forces, also generated some heat at the show.
For the first time after the HAL entered into a pact with the Russians for joint development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, since renamed Prospective Multirole Fighter, a scaled-down model of the futuristic combat platform was on display.
This air show drew in a record 700 companies and received official delegations from 78 countries, with the largest presence by the U.S., followed by France, the U.K., Russia, Germany, Israel and Belgium. Over 3 lakh tickets were sold to the general public this year.
The 10th edition will commence on February 18, 2015.