Aero India 2015: Metal birds begin flocking at AFS Yelahanka

Written by: Dr Anantha Krishnan M
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Bengaluru, Feb 13: Activities at the Air Force Station (AFS) Yelahanka have reached a fever pitch with the 10th edition of Aero India set to begin on February 18.

With just five more days to go for Asia's biggest aerospace and defence exhibition, the metal birds from different countries have already started to arrive at Yelahanka.

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Sources confirmed to OneIndia on Friday that some of the fighters have already begun their practice sessions at the show.

"The parking lots are getting full with participants arriving one after another. There are some mandatory formalities they need to complete before they could actually get on with flying. The air traffic controller (ATC) at Yelahanka will become active in the next few days. HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) too have started flying their assets from Old Airport," an official posted to Yelahanka for the show told OneIndia.

Sources confirm that an Airbus A400M, the turboprop next-generation military transport aircraft, of the French Air Force, has already landed. Three Rafales of the French Air Force is also reported to have landed at Yelahanka. The F-16s too have arrived, while IAF's C-17 and Mi-17 1V too have touched down at the base.

PM scheduled to land at 9 am

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to inaugurate the show, is expected to land at 9 am at AFS Yelahanka on Wednesday. The inaugural function is expected to last for two-and-a-half-hours.

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A fly-past of all key IAF assets will be the main attraction on Day-1, in addition to the flying displays. Modi is also expected to visit some of the pavilions after the inauguration.

The security at AFS Yelahanka has already been tightened this time with the Special Protection Group (SGP) expected to take over the base 48 hours before the show.

Six aerobatic display teams

As reported by OneIndia earlier, the number of aircraft participating in static and air displays has gone up this time, taking the number over 70 now. Six aerobatic display teams, including the mind-boggling Sarang aerobatic team from the Indian Air Force (flying the Dhruvs), are warming up for the show.

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Others include, the Scandinavian Air Show Team (Sweden), Aero Superbatics Limited and Airborne Service Limited (both from UK), Flying Bulls Aerobatic Team (Czech Republic) and the Open Sky Jump Team (US Special Forces).

India's pride the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is expected to be the star attraction this time as well. With the government's emphasis on ‘Make in India' concept, all desi birds are likely to get special attention during the show.

The Indian flying team will also have LCH, Dhruv, Rudra, Sukhoi and Tiger Moth. Among the foreign military aircraft that will be seen at the air show include F-15C Eagle, Lockheed F-16C, Boeing KC-135, Boeing C-17, Rafale and Embraer EMB-145I.

The foreign civil aircraft participation includes PC-12 NG, Falcon 2000, Phenom 100E, Boeing B 75, Boeing A 75, Viking, Catwalk, WASP, RRJ 95, EMB 505, Bell 407 GX Helicopter, King Air 350 ER, 19-seater Turbo Prop AI Industry, Z Lin Z 50 LX, OmaSud Sky Car, Falcon 7 X and Dornier 228-New Gen.

Aero India: 'Metal birds' begin flocking

Photos: Shashi Prakash, DPR, MoD

(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)

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