Photo: Oneindia
Aero India 2021 kickstarted in Bengaluru on Wednesday amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: YouTube

The 13th edition of India’s premier aerospace and defense exhibition, Aero India 2021 kickstarted in Bengaluru on Wednesday amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with the buzz around the “AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan” and “Make in India” push. With a combination of both physical and virtual exhibitions, this edition of the biennial international event at Air Force Station Yelahanka will be the world’s first hybrid aerospace show, said officials.

Armored Vehicles Showcase

Aero India 2021, the country's premier aerospace and defense exhibition, took off here on Wednesday amidst the Covid-19 pandemic with a buzz around a push for "Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan" and "Make in India", according to Deccan Herald.

With a combination of both physical and virtual exhibitions, the 13th edition of the biennial international event at Air Force Station Yelahanka will be the world’s first hybrid aerospace show, officials said.

A negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test report (dated 31 January, 9 am or later) is a must to attend the three-day event, where each day only 3,000 visitors will be allowed at the flight display venue in view of the pandemic.

As many as 601 exhibitors – 523 Indian and 78 foreign – and 14 countries have confirmed participation, they said.

Companies are showcasing their capabilities, latest technologies, solutions, products, and services at the show.

Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will exhibit its latest defense technologies and demonstrate many systems.

Photo: Times Now
Photo: Times Now

“We will continue to support ‘Make-in-India’ policy and ‘Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat Mission’ of the Indian government, to promote indigenous production, knowledge transfer and global industrial cooperation, to facilitate Indian export of high- end defense technology,” said Eli Hefets, Corporate Regional Director, India, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

Director and Industry Lead for Aerospace and Defense in India, Dassault Systemes, Ravikiran Pothukuchi said the aerospace and defense sector in India is at an inflection point, given the large-scale modernization and indigenization programs being undertaken by the government, News Today cites.

Alex Zino, Executive Vice President Business Development & Future Programmes (Defence), Rolls-Royce said, ‘We recognize that India’s defense requirements are evolving, making indigenous development of modern defense hardware and technology a top priority for the Indian government’.

“Aligned with the Indian government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan and the Make in India initiative, we look forward to participating in Aero India 2021 and reinforcing our commitment to supporting the growth of an indigenous defense manufacturing ecosystem while continuing to deliver our best capabilities to support the Indian MoD and Services,” said William (Bill) Blair, vice president, and chief executive, Lockheed Martin India.

Participants in AeroIndia 2021

As many as 601 exhibitors — 523 Indian and 78 foreign — and 14 countries are participating in the three-day event where companies will be showcasing their capabilities, latest technologies, solutions, products and services at the show. During the event, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will also exhibit its latest defense technologies and demonstrate many systems.

On day one of the show, the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team of the Indian Air Force and Sarang helicopter displayed the team conduct aerobatic display.

Even American B-1B Lancer aircraft took part in the show on the first day. The aircraft flew from an American airbase in South Dakota, United States for over 26 hours to reach the city.

Apart from that, Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters in the Trishul formation were spotted in the sky during the show. Aircraft also took part in the flypast in the Atmanirbhar formation.

Aircraft also took part in the flypast in the Atmanirbhar formation.

What are the key attractions of Aero India 2021?

Photo: YouTube
Photo: Oneindia

*One of the main attractions will be flight display by ‘Surya Kiran’ aircraft and ‘Sarang’ helicopters.

*Russia’s state-run Rostec will display its K-16 and K-17 Boomerang armored personnel vehicles (APC).

*Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport will also display a model of the Prima anti-stealth radar at Aero India 2021. As per a report, “The P-18-2 Prima high-mobility 2D surveillance and acquisition radar was developed and manufactured by PJSC NITEL and PJSC NPO Almaz. The solid-state radar is based on modern hardware components and digital signal processing and generation technology. The radar is designed to detect, track, locate and identify air targets of various classes and types as friend or foe in both jamming and clutter environments, take the bearing of jammers, and feed radar data to users’ automated command-and-control systems.”, as reported by India.com.

*Don Heflin, U.S. Charg d’Affaires, will lead a high-level delegation of U.S. Government officials and defense industry representatives to Aero India 2021.

* Another main highlight of Aero India show this year would be a B-1B Lancer heavy bomber, of the 28thBomb Wing based out of Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, which will perform a “fly-by.”

*Bengaluru-headquartered Hindustan Aeronautics Limited would showcase Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight. The ‘Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight’ consisting of HAL products such as LCA trainer (LIFT Trainer), HTT-40, IJT, Advanced Hawk Mk 132, and Civil Do-228 will fly in a special formation showcasing the spectrum of trainers and signifying self-sufficiency in the trainer segment, it said.

* A life-size export model of Russia’s first stealth fighter, the Su-57, will also be on display at this year’s edition of Aero India.

*Aero India 2021 will also see participation by think-tanks from different parts of the world.

Aero India is a platform for aerospace enthusiasts, prospective defense industries, aspirant start-ups, and all other stakeholders to participate and witness the advances in global defense and aerospace fields and interact with many national and international delegations and industries, officials said.

How to register and watch the show for free

In a recent development, the general public can watch the show for free. "Once people register on the portal, they will have access to various virtual exhibitions, inauguration and other aspects of the show online," an official said, notes One India.

It is said that exhibitors, companies and other businesses can also participate remotely. However, exhibitors are required to pay a stipulated fee to the organizers - Rs 20,000 for MSMEs and Rs 40,000 for others.

"There are a lot of options for participants. Companies can showcase capabilities through banners, virtual pop-ups, and videos, products, and services offered by the firms, brochures, images, etc," the official said.

He added exhibitors can interact with virtual visitors through video/chat/SMS or email. "There will be facilities to track details of virtual visitors who visited your stall, schedule online B2B meetings with them, and also participate in conferences," he added.

It is also said that there will be a QR code to exchange business cards, report cleanliness issues or give feedback. "Exhibitors and visitors will be able to experience everything that a person present at the venue does. They'll even have access to show dailies and other digital repositories," the official added.

As of January 28, there are 171 virtual exhibitors, up 17 percent from the 146 as of January 22. It can also be seen that the pandemic has forced the organizers to restrict visitors at the venue: Only 15,000 will be allowed in the exhibition area while those at the air display viewing area will be limited to 3,000.

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