Bengaluru: The 13th edition of Plane Carnival - Aero India 2021 – now, cut-short to three-days owing to the pandemic threat, takes off on Wednesday at Air Force Station (AFS) Yelahanka here.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the event, which is billed as the premier air show in Asia.
As reported by Onmanorama earlier, there are several COVID-19 protocols in place for this year’s show. The RT-PCR test has been made mandatory for everyone entering the base.
Addressing the media on the eve of the show, Rajnath Singh said the Ministry of Defence was relentlessly giving impetus to domestic manufacturing of defence equipment, not only to fulfil the demands of armed forces, but also to make India a net exporter of defence equipment and platforms to friendly foreign countries. The highlights of the opening ceremony will be the signing of the mega Rs 48,000 crore contract for 83 Tejas MK1A (73 fighters and 10 trainers) between the Indian Air Force and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
Due to these pandemic restrictions, this edition of Aero India will be a purely a business event without any public days.
A dedicated virtual platform has been created to facilitate online viewing and details can be accessed here: https://aeroindia.gov.in/
Among other key events at the show will be a dedicated India Pavilion based on rotary wing theme, conclave of Defence Ministers of Indian Ocean Region, conclave of Chiefs of Air Staff of various countries, India – Russia Military Industrial Conference and Startup Manthan among others.
The two-day Chiefs of Air Staff Conclave will be hosted by the IAF and will be a unique one where Chiefs of Air Staff from various countries would brainstorm and synergize their thoughts on current issues related to aero-space power strategy and technological developments.
“With the growing need for nations to join hands in maintaining peace and harmony world over, the conclave will provide the much needed platform to discuss issues related to military aviation, space operations and aerospace strategy apart from giving them opportunities to learn about each others' best practices,” said IAF, in a statement.
At the air display, the integrated aerobatic show of Surya Kiran and Sarang will be a jaw-dropping one. During the Full Dress Rehearsal on Tuesday, both platforms performed in great agility and awe.
This will be the first aerobatic display of fixed wing and rotary platforms together anywhere in the world.
Also during the inaugural flypast today, the crowd-puller will be an Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight involving home-grown metal birds LCA, HTT-40, IJT, Hawk and Do-228.
There will be 63 planes on static display.
Meanwhile, during a media brief on Tuesday, HAL CMD R Madhavan expressed confidence that order for 15 initial LCHs is likely to get the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) nod soon.
He also said that the Request for Quotation (RFQ) for HTT-40 too is expected shortly.
HAL’s new plant to produce Tejas was inaugurated in Bengaluru yesterday. This facility is expected to boost the much-awaited Tejas production.
(The writer is an independent aerospace and defence journalist, who blogs at Tarmak007 and tweets @writetake.)