Bengaluru, Feb 18: Asia's premier air show, Aero India, took off in Bangalore on Wednesday with over 300 foreign firms vying with each other to align with the 'Make in India' campaign of the Narendra Modi government as they eye the burgeoning multi-billion dollar Indian defence market.
With metal birds having already landed and prepped up, the Air Force Station at Yelahanka in the IT city is all set to host the 10th edition of the biennial five-day international edition of the aerospace and aviation exhibition to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi will be the second Prime Minister to inaugurate the event after H D Deve Gowda in 1996.
The Prime Minister is expected to spend about three hours at the venue and witness a fly past and aerial aerobatics.
As many as 54 ministerial and other high-level delegations from several countries are slated to attend the inaugural event. Over 600 companies, including 295 Indian and 328 foreign ones, are participating in the exhibition.
The US -- with 64 companies -- will have the biggest presence at the event; 33 other countries are also taking part.
France will be the second biggest participant with 58 companies, followed by the UK with 48, Russia with 41, Israel with 25 and Germany with 17, said the organisers.
Nearly 1.5 lakh visitors are expected to throng the event.
The air show is invariably a huge attraction for aviation aficionados who get a chance to witness the static and air display by various aircraft including fighter, transport, helicopter and aerobatic display teams.
While the number of aircraft participating in static and air displays is tentatively 72, Indian Air Force's Sarang Team and air display teams from Sweden, UK, Czech Republic and open sky jump by USA Special Forces are among the major attractions at Aero India-2015.
Seven of the 11 foreign military aircraft on display will be American - two F-15C Eagles, two F-16C Fighting Falcons, one Boeing KC-135 tanker, one C-17 Globemaster III and a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.
Three Rafale fighters of French giant Dassault - shortlisted for acquisition by the IAF - will fly aerobatics displays.
Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica, which was ousted from the biennial military exhibition DefExpo in the wake of bribery charges in the VVIP chopper scam a year ago, will also participate in the event.