BENGALURU: India's air show got off to a flying start Wednesday in this aerospace hub with a spectacular display of its air prowess and daredevilry aerobatics by its fighters, helicopters and transport aircraft.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the 10th edition of Aero India 2015, a five-day trade expo, at the Yelahanka base of the Indian Air Force (IAF), 20 km from the city, and witnessed the flying display in a clear sky on a sunny day.
Modi and about 1,000 invitees were treated to thrilling aerial feats by different types of aircraft, including the homegrown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Sukhoi-30, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Advance Jet Trainer (AJT) Hawk.
French aerospace major Dassault Aviation flew its medium multi-role combat aircraft Rafale to demonstrate its awesome strike force, as the IAF has short-listed the MMRCA for induction in its frontline fleet in place of the ageing Russian-made MiG-21.
The IAF pilots also flew the Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv as Sarang aerobatics team, heavy-lift transport plane C-17 Globemaster-III of the Boeing and the Russian-made Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft.
Daredevilry feats by Flying Bulls of Czech Republic, AeroSuper Baltics and Aerowind Services from Britain, Scandinavian air show team Wasp and Open Skydiving of the US Special Forces drew cheers from the spectators.
In all, 72 military aircraft are on flying and static display, including P8-A maritime reconnaissance aircraft and KC-135 tanker of Boeing and EMB-145 Embraer fromABrazil.
In addition, 17 types of civil aircraft, including business jets and helicopters are on display for hardselling in the growing Indian aviation market.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, Union Civil Aviation Minister Pasupati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Law and Justice D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Karnataka governor Vajubjhai Vala, state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Anup Raha were present at the inaugural ceremony.
The state-run defence exhibition organisation has chosen 'Make in India' programme of the government as the event theme to pitch for overseas investments in designing, developing and manufacturing aerospace products and platforms for the global military and civil aviation markets, especially in the Indian sub-continent.
Of the 110 countries participating in the event, the US is representing in a big way with a 64-member delegation, followed by France with 58 delegates, Britain 48, Russia 41 and Israel 25.
About 600 multinational and Indian firms, including state-run enterprises are showcasing their technologies and products at the expo in dozen pavilions spread over 2.5-lakh square metres at the sprawling venue.