Marketing blitzkrieg, aerial theatrics marks Aero India Show

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Bangalore, Feb13 (PTI) It was a blend of marketingblitzkrieg and aerial theatrics that capped the five-day AeroIndia show, touted as one of the biggest events showcasing themulti-crore opportunity of India''s fast growing defence marketand the fierce competition among global defence majors to wooIndia.

The concluding day here was marked by flagging off ofIndia''s old refurbished warhorse, Pushpak on a 11,000 kmexpedition.

The World War-I unarmed aircraft, Pushpak, took off on a30-day expedition, to commemorate the silver jubilee year ofthe Army Aviation Corps.

The aircraft, which served in the 1965 and 1971 wars, wouldvisit all the erstwhile Air Observation bases.

The huge civilian turnout today was also greeted to somestunning mid-air manoeuvres by both Indian and foreignmilitary aircraft.

Aerial displays by homegrown Tejas, Indian aerobatic team,Suryakiran, the Indian helicopter team, Sarang enthralledseveral. The Czech based team today left several gaping as theFlying Bulls presented their complex manoeuvres.

Military state-of-the aircraft from Sweden, France, USEurope, Russia also displayed their prowess mid-air.

The aeroshow received both national and internationalattention, with the participation of nearly 75,000 businessvisitors this year as against 50,000 in the previous event,according to CII officials.

In all nearly two lakh visitors it to the aero show whichwitnessed some fierce competition with major internationalaerospace players bidding for the USD 10 billion mediummulti-role combat aircraft contract in India, which isexpected to be finalised next year.

Over 600 exhibitors from across the country and theworld showcased their components and technology at the event.

"There have been some serious enquiries", a CII officialsaid but refused to divulge details.

The highlight of the event was handing over of ''Cheetah''to Namibia and signing of Joint Venture between L and T andCassidian.

Global defence majors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin,Swedish Saab, European Eurofighters, French Dassault, launchedaggressive marketing blitzkrieg, with the aim of winning theMMRCA deal.

Union Minister A K Antony''s statement that the deal wouldbe decided next year, turned the voltage of the competitonseveral decibels higher, with all defence majors trying togarner maximum media mileage. (More) PTI JD BH BN

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