Vishnu Sukumaran

Airbus' partnerships with Indian companies under the Narendra Modi government's 'Make in India' initiative set the tone for its participation at Aero India 2017 at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru.

"The future of Indian aerospace and defence industry rests on the realization of the 'Make in India' vision. I look forward to having conversations around the topic at Aero India," said Pierre de Bausset, president and managing director, at Airbus India. "We have partnered with Tata and Mahindra and are working with a host of other companies to script 'Make in India' success stories."

Visitors at the Airbus stand – Hall B, Stand 2.2 – get a first-hand account of Airbus' engagement with India, which yields over $500 million (approx. Rs 3,400 crore) in procurement annually from around 45 suppliers, generating local employment for more than 6,000 people. To illustrate the scale of co-operation, Airbus also claims that each of its commercial aircraft produced today is partly 'Made in India.'

Airbus says the potential of partnership with India is big and that it will be exhibited in the form of scale models of the C295W military transport aircraft and the AS565 MBe Panther helicopter.

As part of the Avro replacement programme of the Union Defence Ministry, Airbus will support Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) in setting up a final assembly line for the C295W in India, once the contract is awarded. Airbus has tied up with Mahindra Defence to create India's first private sector champion for manufacturing military helicopters.

Making India the global hub for producing Panthers in India, for the domestic market as well as for exports, has also been proposed under the Naval Utility Helicopter programme.

The scale model display line-up includes EC725, now marketed as H225M, which is under negotiation for the Indian Coast Guard's requirement for 14 shore-based helicopters as well as the fuel-efficient A320 Neo commercial aircraft. There are around 590 A320 Neo on order from India, which means that on average, one aircraft will be delivered to India per week over the next 10 years.

Besides, there are also models of H145 and H125 helicopters, Eutelsat 172B satellite, EScan AESA radar and ATR 72-600.

H130 chopper ambulance on static display

Aviators Air Rescue, in partnership with the Air Medical Group Holding Inc. – a leading air medical provider in the United States – became the first Indian operator to induct three Airbus H130 helicopters in a dedicated air ambulance role last year. One of these helicopters, fully kitted out with specialised emergency medical care equipment, shows its life-saving service at the entrance of Hall B.

Thanks to its exceptional cabin size and dedicated medical configuration, the H130 is considered the reference for air ambulance missions among single-engine helicopters. The wide, unobstructed cabin with large hinged and sliding doors enables easy loading and unloading of stretchers, and ensures rapid access for medical personnel. Doctors and paramedics have plenty of space to take care of patients during flight.

The low internal sound level and the flat cabin floor offer a suitable environment to install both sensitive and bulky medical equipment. Adjustable energy-absorbing seats accommodate one stretcher, two medical attendants and one additional seat.