The 13th edition of Aero India — Asia’s biggest defence and aerospace exhibition will kickstart in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the three-day biannual event which is taking place for the first time in a hybrid mode due to pandemic. The show will be hosted by the Air Force Station Yelahanka in Bangaluru, which is going to be the first international aviation event in the COVID-19 era.
This year’s event will mainly focus on India’s defence research and technology capabilities with public sector undertakings participating in full strength even as participants from abroad have declined drastically, making the event look muted in comparison to the previous editions. An ‘India Pavilion’ that showcases India’s strength is among the highlights. Over 200 MoUs will be signed between different procurement and manufacturing agencies. The show is expected to begin with the inking of a Rs 47,000 crore deal for 83 Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’ for the Indian Air Force (IAF). Even the logo of this year’s Aero India is inspired by the LCA. The tri-coloured figure of the Tejas LCA with the Ashok Chakra in the middle is the core concept of Aero India 2021.
Though the total number of exhibitors has increased to 601 against 403 in the last edition, the number of foreign exhibitors is down from 165 to 78 this year. The number of foreign delegations is also down from 44 to 14. There are 248 virtual exhibitors at the event, which is largely out of bounds for the public. The five-day event has been reduced to three days, leaving out the two public days that was the norm in the earlier editions. The flying display will be mostly from the Indian Air Force and HAL, and about 40 aircraft will participate.