Aero India 2017

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday (Feb 14) inaugurated the eleventh edition of Aero India 2017, the biennial air show in Bengaluru.

Read: HAL's Light Combat Helicopter advancing towards Initial Operational Clearance

Parrikar noted in his speech about the "emerging dynamism of defence manufacturing in India" and stressed the commitment of the present government in creating and enabling an environment that was necessary for domestic eco-system of defence-manufacturing in the country.

He also revealed about a new Defence Innovation Fund (DIF) to encourage innovation, technological development, research and development. The initial contribution for the fund will be coming from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). This fund would be open for both Indian and foreign companies, he added.

He said the enthusiasm shown by the defence companies to be part of the government's 'Make in India' campaign would support the domestic aviation industry.

The event was also attended by Gajapathi Raju, Union minister for civil aviation; Subhash Bhamare, for minister of state for defence; Jayant Sinha, minister of state for civil aviation; R V Deshapande, Karnataka's minister for higher education and tourism besides the three service chiefs.

The presence of defence and civil aviation ministries represented an ongoing synergy between the two ministries which Raju claimed were important for the country.

Parrikar also visited the exhibitor stalls of different defence companies.

The display by both Indian Air Force pilots and pilots of other countries thrilled the audience at the show.

However, the limelight of the show was stolen by the HAL-manufactured LCA Tejas, Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), HTT-40 and Hawk-i.

As for LUH, it marked its first public display at the Aero India 2017. The audience also witnessed some thrilling air display by the LCH, which performed several moves that HAL claimed to be rare among attack helicopters of its class. This event also marked the return of the HTT-40, a revamped basic trainer. The audience also witnessed an upgraded and HAL-made Hawk-i advanced trainer aircraft.

The event saw Parrikar handing over the first indigenous AEW&C in its Initial Operational Clearance configuration.

A Su-30MKI, Pilatus PC-7 Mk II and TigerMoth -- a vintage aircraft also displayed their skills.

Saab's Gripen and Lockheed Martin's F-16 were part of the flying display. Both the aircraft are competing to be selected for Indian Air Force's requirement of about 200 single-engine aircraft.

The event also marked the return of the aerobatic display by the Surya Kirans. The Sarang helicopter display team also painted the sky with their colours as did the SKYCATS, a Scandinavian aerobatics team.

A total of 549 companies are taking part in the event and out of this 270 are Indian and 279 foreign.