Aero India 2013, Asia's biggest air show, took off today at Yelahanka air base on the outskirts of Bangalore, with defence minister A K Antony ruling out a cut in the defence budget and calling for self-reliance and scaling up the defence industrial base.
The inauguration of the five-day biennial event was marked by a breath-taking flying display; but some of the sheen was lacking, as there were few fighter aircraft on display – unlike the previous edition when global aerospace agencies were vying for a huge Air Force contract for 126 fighter planes. Rafale of France bagged that order
There seemed to be less excitement overall, with a lesser number of aircraft participating, though the number of participating countries and companies matched that of 2011.
Three Mi-8 helicopters trooped in with the national flag, IAF ensign and Aero India flag just before Antony inaugurated the event, witnessed by a galaxy of officials, industry delegates, exhibitors and representatives from India and abroad.
Aero India 2013 is showcasing the latest international technology in the fields of military and civil aircraft, avionics and sub-systems, as well as radars in the defence and aerospace sector.
The flying display commenced with a graceful entry of the Tiger Moth aircraft, which was resurrected recently as part of the IAF vintage flight.