Monday, February 12, 2007

Bangalore: Hardcore aviation buffs sat glued to the tarmac as the flying machines lit up the skies one last time as "Aero-India 2007," the sixth edition of the biennial aerospace exposition drew to a close at the Yelahanka Air Base here on Sunday.
What has emerged clearly from the five-day event is the decisive shift towards the U.S. in India's future aviation procurements.
Predictably, competitors for the multi-billion dollar Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft contract from the Indian Air Force made most of the noise at the show. From the makers of Gripen with their own exclusive corner structure to the Russians with their MiG-35, the fighter aircraft makers were in full attendance. The Americans had come fully prepared with their F-16 flying falcon and the F/A-18 super hornet to make an impact on the IAF.
Defence majors across the world had pitched tent for five full days, well aware of the huge potential the booming Indian aviation industry holds. Money, marketing muscle and media-savvy promotions were all in top gear. American firms Lockheed Martin and Boeing had high visibility. The message was clear: after the Indo-US nuclear deal, the US is hell-bent on grabbing a big piece of the pie, in this case the Great Indian Defence Billing. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the State-owned aviation major, had double trouble at the show. The company top brass had to tackle two mishaps, the crash of an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv of the Sarang aerobatic team that killed the co-pilot and severely injured the pilot, and the tyre burst of the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT). Both aircraft were HAL's showpieces of indigenous design and development, and the mishaps could not have been more ill-timed.
But the pall of gloom had a silver lining: The hi-profile flight of business tycoon Ratan Tata on the F-16 and F-18. The flights hogged massive publicity.
Business deals between private firms took on an altogether different hue at the air show in the wake of the country's new offset policy drafted as part of the 2006 Defence Procurement Policy. Foreign firms are required to look out for partnerships worth up to 30 per cent of any contract with billings over Rs. 300 crore. Virtually, every participating defence major used the occasion to either firm up contracts with private Indian firms or exchange notes for future tie-ups.
India has proposed to spend about $35 billion over the next 25 years, of which offset alone will come to about $10 billion. This is a huge outlay, a big advantage that both the foreign and Indian defence majors are not willing to miss.
12/02/07 The Hindu


To read the news in full | PermaLink
                        Aero India 2009 News >>>

Aero India 2009 News


Powered by Blogger

© 2006 Aero India 2007 News | Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly.