Asia's largest air show, Aero India 2009, opening on 11 February at the Indian Air Force Station Yelahanka near Bangalore, will see unprecedented participation of international and domestic companies in the aviation sector. With the confirmed participation of 592 companies, 303 of them international and 289 Indian, the show has become bigger than ever before.
Significantly, the participation of domestic exhibitors has steadily grown from 66 in its inaugural show in 1998 to 289 this year, accounting for nearly half the total exhibitor strength. The seventh edition of this prestigious show will have about 44,000 sq m of exhibition area, as compared to 30,000 sq m in 2007.
The Indian Air Force would be one of the major participants, with most of its firepower on display. This includes the air superiority fighter Sukhoi-30 MKI, the Mirage-2000, the Jaguar, the basic and intermediate jet trainer Kiran and the advanced jet trainer Hawk; rotor power in the form of MI-8s and ALH helicopters, and transport support by the IL-78 MKI tanker and the workhorses AN32 and Dornier-228.
The Indian Army will showcase its air prowess through the Army Aviation Corps, who will display a mock special heliborne operation. Other major Indian participating agencies are the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) the main organiser of the show; the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the Centre for Airborne Systems and the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL).
The ADA will present the light combat Aircraft Tejas, which is expected to be a major attraction. The world's smallest fighter aircraft weighs just a little over seven tonne, but has the capacity to carry about 60 per cent of its basic weight as ordnance, a feat unmatched by any other aircraft.
HAL will showcase its advanced light helicopter (ALH) Dhruv. This light-weight, multipurpose machine has already been inducted into Indian Armed Forces. Also on display from the HAL stable are the intermediate jet trainer HJT-36 and the Hawk MK 123.
The multi-role aircraft Saras from NAL will be another attraction of this year's show, along with Hansa, the super light-weight trainer.