“From runways to airways, Aero India presents a pool of opportunities” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

SP's ShowNews - Aero India 2021 - Day 2 By Ayushee Chaudhary

Declaring open the 13th edition of the Aero India show on Wednesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh highlighted the encouraging significance of Aero India 2021 in the backdrop of the global pandemic and said that the international exhibition continues to create opportunities from runways to airways. “Despite the constraints caused by the global pandemic, I am pleased to see such a large number of participants in this year’s event. It is coming from the world’s leading nations in the field of military and aviation. The world has now started to recognise India as a trusted defence investment destination,” he said. The Aero India 2021 is scheduled for three days and promises to display the vast potential of India, and the multifarious opportunities that the country offers in the field of defence and aerospace sector. “This is the world’s first hybrid aero and defence exhibition. It is truly a sangam of rising demand, greater innovation, conducive opportunity and maturing ecosystem in defence and aerospace,” he added.

During the curtain raiser of the event, Singh had said that against the backdrop of Bengaluru, the event would offer opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between Indian and global industry leaders, academicians, visionaries, centre and state administrations. It would also bring together the defence ministers of various countries, service chiefs, policy makers, foreign OEMs, industry, entrepreneurs and academia to showcase, connect and collaborate as well as highlight policy reforms driving India’s new defence manufacturing revolution.

The Chief Minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yediyurappa said, “I want to congratulate the state administration for ensuring the availability of the infrastructure to have an event of this magnitude. Karnataka is home to many R&D institutions, aerospace industries, and a vibrant start up culture with about 65 per cent of the nation’s aerospace related exports and 67 percent of all aircraft and defence related services happening from here. It is also the first state in the country to announce an aerospace policy in the promoted investment of 14,700 crore and employment potential of over 10,000 people. Bengaluru promises many opportunities ahead for the industry.”

The opening ceremony also witnessed the handing over of the contract of 83 LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Tejas Mark 1A, worth 43,000 crore to Chairman and Managing Director of HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), R. Madhavan by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials in the presence of the Defence Minister.

The major focus of this year’s air show is on the defence capabilities of India and the indegnisation programs to be presented not just for India but also for the world. “We plan to spend 130 billion dollars in military modernisation in next 7-8 years,” Singh said, adding that this event is encouraging for collaboration.

The contract presented to HAL is probably one of the biggest defence ‘Make in India’ contract till date, noted the Defence Minister. Tejas, manufactured by the HAL, is a single engine and highly agile multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft capable of operating in highthreat air environments. The first LCA Tejas Mark 1A is expected to be supplied by February 2024. Ministry of Defence has set a target of making 83 planes over the next six years. The jets will be in two variants - 73 of these will be ‘Tejas Mk-1A’ configuration while 10 jets will be the Tejas Mk-1 configuration, used as a ‘trainer aircraft’.

On Tuesday, Singh also opened a new HAL manufacturing facility for Tejas in Bengaluru, which is expected to double the production rate from the present eight planes per year to 16.

Rajnath Singh enumerated the highlights of Aero India 2021 including inauguration of India pavilion - based on the theme of Rotary wings, Conclave of Defence Ministers of Indian Ocean Region, Conclave of Chiefs of Air Staff of various countries, India - Russia Military Industrial Conference, Startup Manthan etc. He said, more than 200 MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) partnership agreements are expected to be signed at the Bandhan event.