Aero India 2003 –– India’s Air Show at Bangalore
05 to 09 February 2003

An IDC Analysis 


New Delhi, 26 January 2003

India's Vision 2025 is full of hope for the Indian Defence Establishment, now that the purse strings are opened wide and the BJP Government supports the defence programmes for more reasons than one. The Navy has got its 15-year ship and 30-year submarine building programmes accepted in principle. The Navy's importance is being recognised, thanks to the importance that USA has evinced to build up the Indian Navy. The naval programme will include its Aviation elements. 

The Navy hopes to clinch the Gorshkov Project and four TU-22M3 aircraft and two Akula class submarines by March. The RM had also indicated that the MiG 29K discussions had been opened. 

The IAF got its long term 140 SU-30 MKI project, IL-78 refullers and Phalcon radar deals under control and all three services have UAVs in their operational deployment profiles for the future. The Army looks to more 155mm Guns and South Africa seems to be favoured and the T90s locally made will roll out of Avadi in the near future. The defence budget of India for imports in free foreign exchange is plentiful for the first time in India's history. It is a landmark happening and the Services are in clover, as the Government wants to run down the reserves.

Therefore, Aero India 2003, the Bangalore air show from 05 to 09 Feb  may well turn out to be a Stealer –– the French PM Jean Pierre Raffarin is himself leading businessmen to the show. Many flying machines will be in full view and to be hawked. Media recently announced that IAF Communication Squadron will get the equivalent of ‘Air Force One’ by way of three Boeing 737-700s. Top executives from the European civil and defence aviation consortium EADS, SNECMA, Dassault, American defence giant Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus, Bell, Bombardier and Embraer will be present. The Taiwanese will also be there. India’s ALH Dhruv to be marketed by Israel and next generation Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will also enthrall the audience by making a brief appearance in the skies. The Surya Kirans will perform daily .Press is being wooed and flown down from Delhi by the IAF.

Aero India 2003 will allow the 157 exhibitors to display their products over an indoor area of 8500 sqm in addition to the huge outside space meant for showcasing aircraft and other aerospace products/equipment.

In conjunction with the air show, an International Seminar is also being organized from February 06 to 08, on "Aerospace Technologies". The seminar focuses on the current problems in all areas of military and civil aviation, and future user requirements and technological prospects. Official delegations from various countries such as France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, UAE, UK, USA, Vietnam and many others will participate in the event.

In addition to the exhibition there will be a daily flying display twice, once in the morning from 1100 to 1230 hrs, and later in the afternoon from 1500 to 1630 hrs, featuring some of the most advanced and sophisticated aircraft.

Along with Indian aircraft like Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage 2000, ALH and LCA, several aircraft from other countries including ATR-412, Hawk, Bell 407, Learjet 60, Falcon 900, Ecureuil helicopter, MiG AT,  L159 etc., will also be on display.

The French are supplying 10 Mirage 2000H to the IAF and if the Hawk AJT deal does not come through, the L159 Czech with the US Honeywell engine and the MIG AT which will be at the show with the French Snecma engine, will come into play. The French and the Russians would like that and IDC had seen the MIG AT fly two years ago and it is now marketable and saleable. 

Group Captain Kumar of the IAF who flew the L 159 in trials has given it good marks. The French already supply Ring Laser Gyro for the SU 30 MKI and are looking to sell the Scecma/Turbomecca Lazarc 04 Engine for the IJT HJT 36, since the Tubomecca TD 333 engine is well up on the ALH Dhruv. The more powerful Shakti engine is being jointly designed for the Naval ASW version and for high altitudes.

Israel has asked USA for $4 billion extra US Military aid, for the impending war with Iraq and some of the money goes to produce equipment for India indirectly. Israel is now the second largest Arms supplier to India after Russia with Baraks, ammunition, avionics for the SU 30MKI, squadrons of Searcher UAVs, Opto Electronics, Radars, Pods and upgrades for the MIG series. The Phalcon system from Israel on the Indo–Russian AWACS is also on the cards. HAL has just announced that Israel Aircraft Industries will market the ALH, which is awaiting cerification. These are interesting days for Indian arms imports just after spares were imported in large quantities for ‘OP Parakarama’. The setting up of a Nuclear Command has also been announced. 

A conventional and nuclear arms race is on in the sub continent and Aero India 2003 is the build up to be watched. 


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