With a day to go for the 12th edition of the Aero India Show to kick-start in Bengaluru, aviation enthusiasts have a real earth-shaking experience to look forward to. In a first, one of the symbols of the Cold War era, the American Boeing B-52 Bombers or Stratofortress will thunder through Yelahanka Air force station on 20 February. The aircraft will be part of the inaugural flypast at the event, which will last till 24 February.
BREAKING: A @Boeing B-52 Stratofortress will be part of the inaugural flypast at #AeroIndia2019 on Feb 20. @USAndIndia confirms the aircraft will be from the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron at Guam. Won’t land — fly past and fly back. pic.twitter.com/AF2p9PcMNy
— Livefist (@livefist) February 18, 2019
"During the inaugural air show on February 20, a fly-by will be performed by B-52 Stratofortress bombers assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam," said the US embassy in a statement.
This iconic bomber that had entered into service in the 1950s was designed to deliver nuclear strikes on the Soviet Union during the Cold War and was used by the US during the Vietnam and Gulf wars. It has an unrefuelled combat range of over 14,000 km and can fly at an altitude of 50,000 feet, said a report by The Hindu.
The Bomber can carry up to 32,000 kilograms of weapons with a combat range of 8,800 miles. In 2016, the fighter aircraft had dropped its first bombs on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Apart from the Bomber, the US will also put its Naval assets on display including the F/A-18 Super Hornet from VFA-27 Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and a P-8 from VP-47 Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.
Strengthening defence cooperation
With 28 companies, the US is bringing its largest ever deletion to India this year. Calling India a major defense partner, head of the US delegation to Aero India, 2019, US Ambassador Kenneth I Juster also noted how "defence acquisitions are an important component in deepening bilateral ties and contributing to a balanced trade relationship” between the two nations.
“I am pleased to be here to support our largest-ever U.S. participation in #AeroIndia2019. #USIndia are committed to strengthening defense cooperation, in line with India’s status as a Major Defense Partner.” - Ambassador Juster #USIndiaDefense https://t.co/WGXiZgTI5l pic.twitter.com/hf3FyKZckD
— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) February 19, 2019
This year's show will also see participation of the US Department of Commerce and US Department of State officials.
US's participation especially gains significance after the Pulwama terror strike on 14 February in which 40 CRPF men were killed by after a Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber rammed into one of the trucks in a convoy. The country had come out in support of India's attempts to thwart cross-border terrorism, telling Pakistan to end being a 'safe haven' for terrorists.
The embassy statement also decisively reiterates how militaries of both nations would work together to "protect freedom of navigation in the air and sea, and to combat terrorism and violent extremism." It goes on to add that the "robust public and private participation by the United States" demonstrates the importance that the country places on its strategic partnership with India.
The US has already bagged defence deals around $17 billion since 2007, cited The Times of India. Recently, India had further made a formal request to purchase 24 MH-60 'Romeo' helicopters for the Navy at an estimated price of Rs 13,500 crore. The Times report also states how the US is "aggressively" hawking its F/A-18 or F-16 fighter production line for the Indian Air Force's over $20 billion 'Make in India' competition for 114 jets as well as the Navy's demand for 57 carrier-culpable fighters.
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Updated Date: Feb 19, 2019 19:03:20 IST