The sixth edition of Aero India 2007 took off on a spectacular note on Wednesday at the Yelahanka air base in Bangalore, with breathtaking maneuvers and daredevil aerobatics at the flying display.
The supersonic fighter Sukhoi-MKI30, three Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) of the Sarang aerobatic team and nine sub-sonic trainer aircraft Surya Kirans of the Indian Air Force (IAF) stole the thunder at the hour-long flying display, leaving about 5,000 spectators spellbound.
Other aircraft and helicopters that took part in the flying display were the two prototype Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), the five deep-penetration fighter Jaguars, transport planes Tuplov 142N, IL-78 with air-to-air fuelling by two Mirage 2000 jets, AN-32 and the prototype of the 14-seater Sarang aircraft of the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL).
Inaugurated by Defence Minister AK Antony in the presence of his two deputies - Inderjit Singh and Pallam Raju, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumarawamy and a host of top dignitaries, the five-day international defence exposition-cum-seminar received an overwhelming response from global aerospace majors and the aviation industry, including the large Indian industry this time.
Held biannually about 20 km away from India's silicon hub, the mega event is being attended by delegations from 15 countries, with air chiefs of 28 nations participating in such large numbers for the first time in an Indian air show.
Welcoming hundreds of delegates, participants, exhibitors and other stakeholders, defence production secretary KP Singh told the gathering that the air show had attracted over 500 companies, including 280 global firms from major aerospace countries such as the Britain, Germany, France, Israel, Russia, Sweden and the US.
Among the Indian participants are a dozen public sector units, including HAL, BEL, NAL, DRDO, ADA, GTRE and BEML and about 200 firms from the private sector.
"Aero India provides an ideal platform to the Indian aerospace industry to showcase its capabilities to the global audience.
It is also an excellent forum to explore business opportunities and facilitate joint ventures and collaborations for mutual benefit," Antony said in his inaugural address.