Aero India 2007 attracts record foreign participationnews
Akhila Thyli
01 February 2007

Aero India 2007, one of Asia''s most prestigious aeroshow and aerospace events, and an eagerly awaited event in the country, is due to open for business and public exposition on 8 February, 2007, and will conclude on 11 February, 2007. This sixth such event, like the previous five, will be hosted at Air Force Base (AFB), Yelahanka, Bangalore, and will consist of two major events - an international seminar and an exhibition, that will include static and flying displays.

Aero India 2007 is being organised by the defence exhibition organisation (DEO), a nodal agency for such events, functioning under the ministry of defence, government of India (GOI). For the first time ever, though, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Farnborough International Limited have assumed responsibilities as event managers.

The exhibition at Yelahanka will have on display aerospace products from all over the world, and will also host the crowd-wowing flying display. The static displays in the hangars, and on the tarmac, will also allow the curious to come up close to birds that they have seen only from afar, or if at all.

The exhibition will cater to an international audience, allowing aircraft manufacturers and technology providers to showcase global aviation and aerospace solutions and services. The Yelahanka show will provide an ideal forum for the promotion and showcasing of these products.

A global who''s who
A prelude to the exhibition, however, is a three-day international seminar that will be inaugurated on 5 February and conclude on 8 February 2007, and organised by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in association with the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI).

The international seminar will throw light on current and emerging technologies and will bring professionals and experts from the around the world on a common platform to discuss pioneering and innovative advances in the aviation and aerospace sector. The opportunity that the seminar represents will also enable the participants to explore possibilities of establishing collaborative programmes and projects in areas of research and technology.

That the international seminar has attracted intense global attention is reflected from the fact that against just 19 Indian speakers from premier defence and civil research organisations and academic institutions, a whopping 41 foreign speakers are slated to present their papers during the technical sessions on 6 and 7 February, 2007.

The foreign delegates represent a virtual who''s who of global aerospace research and manufacture, as well as government organisations. The presentations will be made over 18 parallel sessions in three halls at the Bangalore-based NIMHANS'' convention centre.

Under the main theme of the seminar, "Aerospace Technologies - Challenges and Opportunities," technical sessions will be spread out under six sub-themes:

  • aerospace vehicles
  • aerospace systems
  • enabling technologies
  • operations,
  • testing and maintenance
  • manufacturing technologies and technology partnerships.
The division of the main theme into the sub-themes is meant to facilitate extensive interaction and flow of information across a community of scientists, designers, manufacturers, users, operators and academia. The organisers expect such interactions to eventually result in the forging of a strong alliance that will facilitate further advances in aerospace and aviation.

"It will create awareness as to what DRDO''s capabilities are, and will concentrate on elevating technology at various levels. It is managed and nurtured by young scientists who are familiar with the complexities of these products," says PGD (CA) and director, ADA, P S Subramanyam, who is the chairman of the exhibition organising committee. Interestingly, the seminar should also help facilitate the "offset policy" of the Indian government, by providing an opportunity to small domestic players in the aerospace sector to meet and interact with global majors.

The Aero India show has already carved a niche for itself over the past decade, building a sizeable brand equity in the aviation world, and becoming an attractive interface for the domestic aerospace industry. First hosted in 1996, the show has by now seen five successful editions showcasing India''s abilities in the sector.

For some time now, the Indian aerospace sector has been acknowledged as one of the fastest growing in the world, and the country features among the top-10 spenders in the area, as well as being the third largest importer of defence-related hardware.

Business opportunities
This year the exhibition is presenting itself with a defined business-to-business objective. The technological potential that DRDO and the country''s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) hold in the field of aerospace is planned to be showcased to a national/international professional audience.

The main thrust of a DRDO-ADA mounted pavilion at the aerospace exposition will be centered around the projection of aerospace-related R&D advancements made by the DRDO. The co-ordinated efforts of various R&D work centers of the DRDO has resulted in the development of various technologies, related to aerospace vehicles like light combat aircraft (LCA), missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), support systems, aircraft system and technological upgrades to aircraft operating with the defence services.

Using sophisticated exhibition techniques, mock-ups of important DRDO produced aerospace products will be exhibited at the show. These models will highlight the collective efforts of the various laboratories of DRDO and the ADA in developing aerospace products, as well as support infrastructure, of international standards.

"Manufacturers, system integrators, pilots and various other specialists are going to be present to further aerospace products. There has been limited exposure to some, so this is a great opportunity for young scientists to familiarize themselves with various disciplines", says M Natarajan, scientific advisor to India''s defence minister.

"Repeated licence-based production did not lead to innovative designs. The courage to embark on innovative designs has to be present, though a lot of investments have to be made. A country of India''s capabilities and prospects cannot miss out on such opportunities. Innovative addressing needs India-specific products in the defence and civil sectors," Natarajan says.

At Yelahanka
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has already issued task directives for the static and flying displays of the locally developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The three prototype Tejas aircraft, developed by ADA and DRDO, will take off from HAL airport, Bangalore and perform formation flying demonstrations at the exhibition venue during the inaugural session of Aero India 2007 in order "to demonstrate the indigenously developed aircraft," as Subramanyam puts it.

One Tejas aircraft has been assigned to perform acrobatic displays twice a day on all the days, while another will be exhibited as a static display, and will be accessible only to high ranking visiting dignitaries.

"Visitors to the exhibition will come to know about the products that have been developed by the DRDO and the ADA for over two and a half decades and they will also know where these organisations are heading, in terms of revenue as well as supply of products to other countries," Subramanyam explains.

Slowly and steadily the Indian aviation industry has positioned itself into a ''high-flying'' slot, with critical policy changes being affected by the government in the sector - both in the civil and defence areas. With greater participation by private companies, (www. domain-b.com/aero), major airports in the country are getting a face lift through renovations and modernisation. A dramatic rise in passenger traffic has also positioned the sector favourably.

The Yelahanka show will thus be the face of an aspiring, and buoyant, Indian aerospace industry even as the new year begins to gather pace.


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Aero India 2007 attracts record foreign participation