Aero India from tomorrow; 675 firms to take part

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Ajit K Dubey

Bangalore, Feb 8 (PTI) With India offering amulti-billion dollar military hardware market, a total of 675global and Indian defence and civilian aerospace companieswill showcase their products and capabilities at the eighthedition of the Aero India air show starting here tomorrow.

The show, which will be inaugurated by Defence Minister AK Antony, will see 380 foreign manufacturers from 30 differentcountries showcasing their military and civilian aerospacecapabilities at the largest ever show alongside their 295Indian counterparts.

The importance attached to India by weapon manufacturingcountries can be gauged from the fact that there is athreefold increase in the number of delegations visiting theshow -- going up from a little over 100 to 350.

The US, which is offering a variety of weapon systems toIndia, is sending 250 delegations to attend the show followedby the Germany and Italy with 35 and 10 delegations,respectively.

This year again, the main highlight at the show would bethe companies in the race for the USD 11 billion deal for 126Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) for the Indian AirForce with five of the six participants bringing theirfighters to the city for both static and flying displays.

With India looking at procuring over 600 helicopters inthis decade, major chopper manufacturers including Eurocopter,Sikorsky, Agusta Westland and Russian Kamov are coming.

Indian public sector companies have also turned up in abig way to showcase the indigenous weapon manufacturingcapabilities. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will come upwith its indigenously-developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejasand the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) for the first time atthe show.

The show will also be used by the HAL to deliver anAdvanced Light Helicopter to the Namibian Air Force. Thenumber of aircraft in the static and flying display has seen a62 per cent increase with around 100 civil and militaryaircraft present at the show.

A majority of the 295 Indian companies at the show aresmall and medium sized firms looking to make the most ofopportunities arising out of the defence offsets clause of thedefence procurement procedure.

The clause makes it mandatory for global vendors toreinvest at least 30 per cent of deals worth over Rs 300 croreback into Indian defence, civilian aerospace and internalsecurity sector.

India''s premier aerospace company ISRO is also setting upa space stall that is expected to be a major attraction. PTIAJD AD

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