The who’s who of the global aerospace industry will congregate in Bengaluru from February 14-18 to take part in Asia’s largest airshow Aero India-2017. Over 550 defence and aerospace firms, including 279 foreign companies, will take part in the 11th edition of the biennial event being held at the Yelahanka air force base.
Hindustan Times gives you a low-down on what to expect during the airshow.
Chasing business opportunities
As fighter planes, transport aircraft and a variety of helicopters tango around in the skies, business honchos and government leaders will explore the possibility of forging new alliances to pursue lucrative contracts.
Deals may not necessarily be hammered out at the venue, but the airshow will allow participating countries – about 30 have confirmed their attendance – and firms to lay the groundwork for future partnerships.
India is pursuing a string of programmes to scale up its military capabilities that have aroused the interest of international military contractors. These include plans to induct new warplanes, next-generation submarines, warships, helicopters, missiles, howitzers, air defence systems, assault weapons and night-vision gear.
Taking part in the airshow is an expensive affair, with foreign companies needing to shell out anything between Rs 42,000 and Rs 54,000 per square metre of space. Indian firms are offered a discount with the charges ranging from Rs 32,603 to Rs 41,918 for the same space.
The biggies also invest in setting up swanky chalets, with private terraces offering the best views of the runway and the aerial demonstrations. Tailored to the needs of the companies, the chalets have dedicated space for business meetings, mounting exhibits and entertaining corporate guests.
For foreign companies, the charge for a single-storey chalet works out to approximately Rs 30 lakh while a double-storey one costs about Rs 61 lakh. Indian firms have to fork out Rs 23.76 lakh and Rs 47.52 lakh for chalets in those configurations. The total area of the show has grown from 24,403 square metre to 27,678 square metre this year, the defence ministry said.
Fighter planes always hog the limelight at airshows. The foreign jets taking part in the show this year are the French-built Rafale, Swedish Gripen and the American F-16 fighters. The home-made light combat aircraft will also take part.
The Americans and the Swedes are eyeing an Indian programme to set up an assembly line for building single-engine fighters in the country in collaboration with a foreign vendor.
State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited said the HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft, the first indigenously upgraded Hawk Mk132 plane and the light combat helicopter will also fly at the airshow. A total of 72 aircraft are taking part in the show.
Thrilling aerobatic displays will be put up by the Indian Air Force’s Surya Kiran and Sarang units as well as by teams from Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Line up of events
A global conference of CEOs on aerospace and defence manufacturing opportunities in Andhra Pradesh will be one of the highlights on the opening day of airshow. Several Indian states are wooing foreign vendors to set up manufacturing facilities under the Make in India initiative.
Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala are also setting up exclusive special economic zones pavilions for attracting investments.
Top CEOs will take part in the conclave where a battery of top officials will speak, including defence minister Manohar Parrikar, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy and IAF chief air chief marshal, BS Dhanoa.
Other events include an investors’ meet and conferences on opportunities and challenges in defence manufacturing in India and how prepared micro and medium enterprises are to reap the benefits of the Make in India initiative. The defence ministry expects more than two lakh business visitors to attend the show.