Highlights of Aero India 2021

by Ajay Prakash
Aero India 2021

The bi-annual Aero India show was held this year in Bengaluru from February 3 to 5. The event brings together defence manufacturing industries, start-ups, and aerospace enthusiasts. It also provides an excellent opportunity to witness aerospace technology advances and network with all the major global aerospace players.

This year saw the participation of 602 exhibitors, out of which 78 were from 14 foreign countries. Since the show was also open to virtual participants, another 338 companies made virtual presentations. According to the organizers, 16,000 people attended the show physically, and another 450,000 participated in the program virtually.

India’s defence minister Mr. Rajnath Singh inaugurated Aero India 2021.

Biggest ‘Made-In-India’ Combat Aircraft Deal Inked

Light Combat Aircraft Tejas of Indian Air Force

Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’ | © Aero India 2021 Photo Gallery

India’s government signed one of the largest defence contracts with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the supply of 83 indigenous Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’ . This deal is worth Rs 48,000 crores (USD 6.5 billion). Mr. Rajnath Singh said that – “Tejas is not only indigenous; it is also better than its foreign equivalents on several parameters and comparatively cheaper. Many countries have shown interest in Tejas.”

Global Companies Make Impressive Exhibits

International aerospace manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed, and Dassault made impressive exhibits. Top defence firms involved in the aviation sector such as BAE Systems, Thales, and MBDA also participated in the event.
Particular interest was shown by Indian Air Force (IAF) for Mid-Air re-fuellers from Boeing and Airbus. The IAF is considering acquiring the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft, a derivative of the twin-engine A330 passenger aircraft of Airbus, and the KC-46 tanker, an offshoot of the Boeing 767 passenger jet, the sources added.

According to News18, United States has offered three of its frontline fighter planes, F-18, F-15, and F-21, to the Indian Air Force.

A Boost to Start-ups

This year, the organizers hosted a special session on Start-ups. Speaking at the session, Rajnath Singh said that India would be spending close to USD 130 billion in defence procurement over the next decade. He emphasized the importance of Start-ups in the country’s journey towards self-reliance. Singh further added, “Start-up India was based on three major pillars – simplification and handholding, funding and incentives and industry-academia partnerships. Rs 4,500 crores (USD 620 Million) of investment is made in 384 start-ups through funds of fund scheme. Our economy is soon going to be driven by the start-ups.”

Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defence Ministers Conclave

Participants of Aero India 2021

Participants of Aero India 2021 Source Aero India Photo Gallery

Defence Ministers from 27 Indian Ocean region countries participated virtually in the Conclave on February 4. This year’s theme was ‘Enhanced peace, security and cooperation for the Indian Ocean Region’. The participants deliberated on political, economic, and defence issues of common interest.

Thunderous Fly-past and Aerobatic Displays

Aero India 2021 Inaugural Ceremony Fly-past

Inaugural Ceremony Flying Display Source Aero India Photo Gallery

The ceremonial fly-past during the inaugural ceremony on February 3 was impressive. The line up consisted of a US Airforce B-1B Lancer heavy bomber. Behind this aircraft came the Indian Light Combat Trainer, HTT-40, IJT, Advanced Hawk Mk 132, and a Civil Dornier 228.

Among the key attractions was the formation flying of the by ‘Surya Kiran’ aircraft and ‘Sarang’ helicopters.

Valedictory Message from The President of India

The President of India, Mr. Ramnath Kovind speaking at the valedictory function, said –

Aero India 2021 has been an unprecedented success. It’s world’s first mega event of this kind to be held in a hybrid format. I have also been told that 201 new business partnerships have been developed in the form of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), agreements and collaborations among various nations and companies.”

Formation Aerobatics by Surya Kiran Team

Formation Aerobatics by Surya Kiran Team Source Aero India Photo Gallery

Your comments are welcome. Please do write to us in the comments section below: Will you be attending the 2022 event?

Editorial Disclaimer: Aero India 2021 was hosted despite the current COVID19 restrictions. Physical attendees, including Travel Radar, required a ‘COVID Negative Test’ certificate prior to entry, and all entrants were subject to strict infection control measures, including social distancing. Missing this year was the public, due to the pandemic. All relevant guidance was followed at all times.

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