BENGALURU: Aero India 2021, the first global air show to be held in the Covid era, and first-ever hybrid air show, is likely to be a subdued event, with only the United States and France having confirmed their participation. “We are in a fluid situation due to the pandemic. Many foreign countries that had registered earlier, are withdrawing due to the situation. Only the US and France have confirmed participation and we will get a clear picture only by this month end,” Air Commodore Shailender Sood, Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station (AFS), Yelahanka, told reporters on Friday.
Air Commodore Sood said there was no confirmation yet on Prime Minister Narendra Modi participating in the event, from February 3-5. Spectators will be limited, though the show promises to be magical, with steel birds hitting the Bengaluru skies. For the first time, Surya Kiran jets and Sarang helicopters will perform a combined display of aerobatics. The Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT ), which lost one of its pilots after two jets collided during a practice sortie last edition, will be back with a boom.
The advanced multi-mission helicopter Chinook, and advanced multi-role combat helicopter Apache, which were inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2020, will also debut at the show. Besides, 41 aircraft including Dakota helicopter, Sukhoi and Tejas fighters will perform, while 63 aircraft will be on static display. Display of foreign aircraft is also expected.
Preparations for the 13th edition of Aero India began almost five months ago. “We have put in place safety measures to follow Covid-19 guidelines. No one can enter the venue without an RT -PCR report dating 72 hours prior to February 3. We have set up isolation centres and anyone with symptoms or fever will be taken there,” Sood said.
The fire mishap in the parking area has led to a number of measures to ensure there is no repeat. The parking zone and other areas have been made ‘no grass zone’, and a detailed plan is in place, with fire tenders in each zone. Fire spotters and hall managers will be deputed in all five hangars, while two IAF helicopters with Bambi buckets will be on standby.