By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Welcome to Bangalore – the city of plane people. As the carnival of flying machines begins today, the passion quotient of those who make a living out of designing, developing, selling, buying and even writing about the planes, will be definitely high. Propelling their interests further will be India's shining stories from the skies.
In the next five days, you will be in the company of Tejas, Dhruv, Rudra, LCH, Agni-V, the prying plane, radars, avionics systems and many more desi defence products that are maturing by the day. Press the future-tech button and you are sure to catch a glimpse of AMCA, Tejas Mk-II, LUH, micro-UAVS and many more. The list is long, inspiring and probably gives you enough dope to know more about Indian defence industry, both government-owned and private sector, who have finally woken up to the challenges and opportunities aerospace provides. Still lots to catch up, to be the best in the business.
For Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), this Aero India is special considering all the Tejas platforms, barring one, are up and flying. Notwithstanding the teething problems ADA has faced over the years, Tejas programme has picked up momentum, with various versions put together completing 2000 flights, just ahead of the show. “Once, the LSP-8 too gets on to the flying mode, followed by IAF’s user evaluation trials, the programme will complete yet another significant phase. At Aero India, the world will see the strides we have made in our combat aircraft programmes,” says P S Subramaniam, ADA chief.
For Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, the show will again be a stage to announce the arrival of Rudra, the weapon-system integrated (WSI) version of Dhruv. When the Indian Army receives the first two Rudras on February 8 at the show, it would again send strong signals to the world, that our strengths are not all that weak, as it is projected. For Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), a silent military technology giant in this part of the world, it would be an array of electronic military toys that would put the spotlight on the company. The software-defined radio (SDR) will lead BEL’s pack of products.
Former Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal (retd) Fali Major is of the strong opinion that the air show should be an opportunity to synergise the aerospace strengths of India, both in civil and military. “The Indian Air Force (IAF) has got everything it has asked for in terms of flying assets, barring some systems and weapons. In that sense, there’s nothing major you can expect from this air show. But, we must now put the focus on our SMEs and MSMEs, who will play a major role in India’s aerospace activities. We must encourage the small Indian companies, who are exhibiting their products,” says Major.
Hence, the show is not all about the number of aircraft that will be displayed, number of companies participating, number of footfalls counted, orchestrated deals and dinner debates. It is also about India’s growing aerospace might.
Blue skies and happy landings!