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Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru: Drone Olympics, Dassault's Falcon, Rafale and HAL's SPORT highlights of event

  • Some of the key attractions at the 12th edition of Asia's premier air show will be the Drone Olympics, Rafale aircraft and HAL's Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft

  • The five-day event has been organised at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru

  • The exhibition, which has been organised every two years since 1996, has since seen 11 successful editions

Some of the key attractions at the 12th edition of Asia's premier air show, Aero India 2019, will be the 'Drone Olympics', Rafale aircraft and HAL's Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft (SPORT). At the event starting Wednesday, national and international players will demonstrate their potential.

The five-day event has been organised at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru. The exhibition, which has been held every two years since 1996, has since seen 11 successful editions, with more than 60,000 business visitors and a lakh general visitors attending the Aero India 2017.

The tagline of this year's function, "The Runway to a Billion Opportunities", was decided keeping in mind the immense opportunities in the aerospace and aviation sectors in India today.

 Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru: Drone Olympics, Dassaults Falcon, Rafale and HALs SPORT highlights of event

File image of Aero India 2017. Aero India website

Drone Olympics at Aero India 2019

The Drone Olympics, aimed at giving a boost to unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) makers, is scheduled to be held on Thursday. The competition will be held in three categories — a surveillance challenge to determine the surveillance capacities of UAVs; a supply drop challenge to assess the weight-dropping capacity of UAVs; and the formation flying challenge to demonstrate different shapes with groups of UAVs.

The defence public relations officer said it has received 121 applications for the event, of which 57 qualified for the prelims on Monday and Tuesday.

The final round is scheduled for Thursday from 10 am. The winners will get a total cash prize of Rs 38 lakh.

HAL's SPORT, Dassault's Rafale and Falcon 2000S to be showcased at event

Amid the ongoing controversy over the alleged capacity of HAL and the government granting Dassault Aviation's offset contract to private players, all eyes will be on the public sector aircraft manufacturer's Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft (SPORT) simulator.  HAL is keen to launch the indigenous development of SPORT (Aircraft) with 4++ generation, or equivalent capabilities, to bridge the gap in pilot training to command front-line fighters, HAL's chairman and managing director R Madhavan said.

The SPORT aircraft will be utilised for fighter training after the advanced jet training stage and before pilots are inducted into a front-line fighter squadron, he said.

Another star attraction at the pavilion will be the aerospace corner, virtual and holographic room and Jaguar aircraft simulator. HAL's indigenous products — Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, HTT-40 (Basic Trainer Aircraft), first indigenously  upgraded Hawk Mk132 named Hawk-i, Civil Do-228, Advanced Light Helicopter (Rudra), Light Utility Helicopter, Light Combat Helicopter — will fly at the show.

"HAL is poised to tap into opportunities during the forthcoming Aero India and will highlight its indigenously designed and developed fixed and rotary wing platforms, technologies covering power plants and latest R&D offerings," the HAL CMD said.

Referring to static display, he said HAL will showcase a Light Utility Helicopter (PT-1), Light Combat Helicopter (TD-2), Advanced Light Helicopter (Rudra) and ALH MICU (Medical Intensive Care Unit) at the event. Other key attractions at the HAL pavilion will be a demonstration of tail boom folding and main rotor folding of the Naval Utility Helicopter as a technology demonstrator.

Meanwhile, Dassault Aviation will look to grab eyeballs with its Falcon 2000S business aircraft, certified for low visibility conditions, alongside the Rafale fighter jet. The first Falcon 2000 nose section produced by Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL), manufactured at Nagpur, will also be displayed at the show.

The Falcon 2000 twin-engine business aircraft has long been popular with Indian operators for its reliability, cabin comfort, hot-and-high capability and low operating cost, the company said. Now, the more enhanced  FalconEye enhanced flight vision system in the 2000S, 2000LXS and Falcon 8X, greatly improves the aircraft's access to airports in bad weather and significantly enhances aircraft fleet efficiency.

DRDO to showcase technologies, innovations in missiles, naval system

More than 24 laboratories under different technology clusters of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) connected to the aerospace and aeronautics will display their products and showcase their achievements at Aero India.

The participating clusters are Aeronautical Systems, Missiles, Armaments & Combat Engineering, Electronics & Communication Systems, Micro Electronics Devices and Computational Systems, Naval Systems and Materials and Life sciences. In the indoor pavilion, scaled models of LCA-Tejas variants, Airforce Mark-1, medium weight fighter, naval variants and trainer variants will also be displayed.

Strong US presence at Aero India, Swedish defence major Saab to make entry

Expect a strong US presence at the Aero India show as the country's posse of naval assets, including the F/A-18 Super Hornet, will be on display. Also, in view of the US and India's commitment to boost defence cooperation, more than 100 personnel of the United States Department of Defence will support the US delegation at the show.

During the inaugural air show on Wednesday, a fly-by will be performed by B-52 Stratofortress bombers assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

Apart from this, US aviation major Boeing would showcase its range of platforms with "advanced capabilities." In a press statement, the world's largest aerospace company said it will showcase a "range of platforms, support and training capabilities" at Aero India 2019, including the F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft, KC-46A Pegasus tanker, AH-64E Apache helicopter, CH-47F Chinook helicopter and the P-8 aircraft.  The company will also display models of the latest Boeing commercial airplanes, including 737 MAX, 777X and the 787 Dreamliner.

Moreover, Swedish defence major Saab will participate in this year's Aero India show. The company will display its Gripen E mission simulator, which it said clearly demonstrates how Gripen, the most advanced multi-role fighter aircraft in the world, maximises operational effect in the future battle space.

"We are also proud to present a full-scale Gripen E, along with the game-changing Meteor and the precision attack Taurus KEPD missiles," the company added.

How to book tickets

The tickets are still available at BookMyShow. General visitors — only Indian nationals — can buy a ticket for Rs 600 from the website, whereas business visitors need to shell out Rs 2,750. One ticket can be availed on any one day of the event. But if an individual chooses to attend the air show on 21 February, the ticket can be used for two entries — one for the Drone Olympics in the forenoon and the other for the flying display in the afternoon. Parents need not purchase a separate ticket for children below five years of age.

The full schedule of the event can be accessed here.

The business visitors' pass allows a single entry into the exhibition area from 20 to 22 February. Children below 16 years are not allowed. Foreign nationals who wish to attend the event as general or business visitors need to sign up separately on the Aero India website. Their tickets are priced at $25 for the air display viewing area and $35 for the exhibition.

The tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. It is mandatory to register the details of the person intending to visit the show. Any mismatch in the details from the ticket and ID proof furnished at the time of entry will bar the individual from the event.

With inputs from PTI and

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Updated Date: Feb 19, 2019 10:54:25 IST