Biennial air show begins tomorrow at Air Force Station, Yelahanka

The skies are thundering with metal birds in preparation for the five-day Aero India 2013, which will get under way at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, on Wednesday.

Antony to inaugurate

Defence Minister A.K. Antony will inaugurate the 9th edition of the air show in the presence of large national and foreign contingents, overseas military delegations and multinational arms manufacturers.

India is keenly being watched as a large defence spender.

If the air show is a marketplace to buy and sell military ware, for the hoi polloi, it promises colourful flypasts and a showcase of military might.

What to watch out for

The extremely popular Surya Kiran aerobatics team will not be there this time.

The IAF Sarang helicopter team will participate as will the Czech Republic’s world-famous aerobatic team called the Flying Bulls or Red Bulls and the Russian Air Force’s Russian Knights.

It will be a sight to watch the tiny Tiger Moth fly in the same skies as the roaring Globemaster-III, the Boeing CJ-17 high lift military transport plane.

The government has bought 10 of these planes for the military.

The air show will display products and services offered by the Indian defence industry in the international market, as well as giving the public a glimpse of the military might of the armed forces, the Ministry of Defence said ahead of the event.

The Air Force, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Department of Space and the Union Civil Aviation Ministry are partnering the show.

Huge growth

Since the first air show in December 1996, Aero India has grown exponentially, according to the Ministry.

This year, there will be 700 companies and 78 overseas delegations covering roughly 1.25 lakh sq m of exhibition space.

Aero India 2011 drew 600 companies, exhibitors from 29 countries and had a gross exhibition area of 75,000 sq.m.

The delegations

Large delegations have come in from the U.S., Israel, Russia, France, the U.K., Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Ukraine, Australia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Canada, The Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, U.A.E. and Singapore.

The defence Research and Development Organisation, which develops technologies for the military, is occupying the largest indoor and outdoor area: nearly 2,561 sq m.

Public sector companies Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and Bharat Electronics and the Tata Group in the private sector will be present.

“This edition has seen a large increase in participation by small and medium industries, Indian and foreign,” the Ministry said.

 The U.S. will have the largest presence at the air show followed by France, the U.K., Russia, Germany, Israel and Belgium.

A youth pavilion will be a major attraction for undergraduate students from engineering colleges.