Spotted at Aero India 2017: Manohar Parrikar, Anil Ambani and IAF chief
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Spotted at Aero India 2017: Manohar Parrikar, Anil Ambani and IAF chief

At Aero India, Asia’s largest air show, the VVIPs visited scores of stands at the Yelahanka air force station near Bengaluru.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2017 15:18 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times
Aero India 2017,Bengaluru air show,Anil Ambani
Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar, state defence minister Gajapati Raju, national security adviser Ajit Doval, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Army chief Bipin Rawat, Navy chief Sunil Lanba at the Aero India 2017 air show in Bengaluru.(PTI Photo)

At Aero India, Asia’s largest air show, the VVIPs visited scores of stands at the Yelahanka air force station near Bengaluru. They wanted a glimpse of the wares and technologies on offer.

Aero India, ended in Bengaluru last week. It was focused on the Make in India plan to transform the country into a global manufacturing hub.

Here are the VIPs spotted where by HT:

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar

After inaugurating the show, the defence minister spent time understanding the capabilities of India’s first indigenously developed airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system, mounted on a Brazilian Embraer-145 jet. He also went inside the Netra AEW&C system, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. HT spotted him at the Bharat Dynamics Limited stand where he was briefed on missile technologies, including the long-range surface to air missile, developed jointly with Israel.

Manohar Parrikar speaks at the opening ceremony of Aero India 2017 at Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru. (AP Photo)

Industrialist Anil Ambani

He flew on a Rafale fighter jet at the air show and pulled off 6G (experiencing six times the force of gravity) during his 35-minute sortie. Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale, has forged a joint venture with Ambani’s Reliance Defence for carrying out its offset obligations bundled with the Rafale deal. Asked to sum up his fighter flight experience, Ambani said it was fascinating and he wanted to fly many more times. He was spotted interacting with top executives at the BAE Systems chalet.

Anil Ambani (second left) leaves after a flight in a Rafale fighter jet. (AFP Photo)
Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani climbs in the cockpit of Rafale aircraft for a sortie. (PTI Photo)

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa

HT spotted the air force chief at European missile maker MBDA stall, one of the several pavilions he visited. MBDA CEO Antoine Bouvier briefed Dhanoa on Brimstone missiles that can be fitted on Hawk trainer jets. Also on display at the stall were models of several other missiles, including the Meteor. The IAF’s Rafale fighters will be equipped with Meteor beyond visual range missiles.

Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa sits in the cockpit of Indian Air Force's Light Combat aircraft Tejas during the 11th biennial edition of Aero India at Yelahanka Air base in Bengaluru. (PTI Photo)

Secretary (defence production) AK Gupta

Gupta was spotted at the BAE Systems stand, getting a lowdown on modular bridging systems. He discussed the utility of such systems that can be deployed quickly to replace infrastructure in combat and for peacetime disaster relief. The systems can be used for building bridges in lengths up to 60m that can support main battle tanks and 110-tonne loaded tank transporters.

AK Gupta (centre) being briefed about modular bridging systems. (HT Photo)

IAF deputy chief Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria

HT spotted Bhadauria at the Saab and BAE Systems stalls. The Swedish company Saab is eyeing an Indian programme to set up an assembly line for building single-engine fighters in the country in collaboration with a foreign vendor. At the BAE Systems stall, he was briefed on laser-guided rockets and the Taranis unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator. The IAF's deputy chief is closely involved with the procurement process. He paid quick visits to several stalls as exhibitors expect top officials to drop by as a great deal of effort and money goes into putting the show together.

First Published: Feb 21, 2017 13:59 IST