The country's premier aerospace and defence exhibition, Aero India 2021 takes off in Bengaluru on Wednesday amidst the Covid-19 pandemic with buzz around "AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan".
With a combination of both physical and virtual exhibition, 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 January 31, 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.
For the first time Defence Ministers of Indian Ocean region from 27 countries will participate in person or through virtual mode in a conclave organised on the sidelines to discuss shared threats and cooperation in disaster management.
Also, for the first time, a conclave of Chief of Air Staff from friendly countries to share ideas on the impact of technical advances on air warfare, Joint Secretary in the Department of Defence Production Anurag Bajpai told reporters in Bengaluru.
As many as 601 exhibitors -- 523 Indian and 78 foreign -- and 14 countries have confirmed participation, they said.
A full-dress rehearsal was held on Tuesday with Sarang helicopter and Surya Kiran aircraft taking part in an aerobatic display at the Yelahanka Air Force station. People watched with awe as the aircraft soared in the sky and performed various manoeuvres mid-air, a day ahead of the 13th edition of the three-day Aero India.
Among the key attractions in the conclave will be flight display by 'Surya Kiran' aircraft and 'Sarang' helicopters. Don Heflin, U.S. Charg dAffaires, will lead a high- level delegation of U.S. Government officials and defence industry representatives to Aero India 2021.
One of the highlights of the show, a B-1B Lancer heavy bomber, of the 28thBomb Wing based out of Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, will perform a "fly-by." Bengaluru-headquartered Hindustan Aeronautics Limited would showcase Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight . The 'Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight' consisting 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.
US has offered three of its frontline fighter planes, F-18, F-15 and F-21 to the Indian Air Force.
According to officials, besides global leaders and investors in aerospace industry, the show will also see participation by think-tanks from different parts of the world. "Aero India will provide a unique opportunity for exchange of information, ideas and new developments in the aviation industry.