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Aero India 2013: Big business and a celebration of aviation, past and present

Aero India 2013: Big business and a celebration of aviation, past and present
Bangalore It is that time of the year when the skies over Yelahanka, near Bangalore will thunder to the sound of dozens of jets from Air Forces and manufacturers from around the world. 

Almost the entire international aviation fraternity will be descending to India's Garden city to be a part of an event now considered Asia's premier air show.And its not just fancy flying from some of the world's leading aerobatic teams that will define Aero India 2013.

With more than 600 companies participating along with delegations from 78 countries, this edition of Aero India promises to be one of the biggest aviation events ever held in Asia, an opportunity for military and civilian aviation companies, both big and small, to cash-in on the promise of big business in India.

In fact, India remains a growth story for civilian and military manufacturers alike.  In its latest market forecast, published last year, aviation major Boeing says India will need 1,450 new passenger aircraft worth $175 billion over the next twenty years.  Passenger traffic growth in India is projected to be the highest in the world.  

As far as military aerospace is concerned, India is on the verge of signing the biggest military deal in the world at the moment - a contract to acquire (and license-manufacture) at least 126 French Dassault Rafale fighters for more than Rs. 97,000 crore.  And that's not all. Several key military deals, from shipborne helicopters for the Navy to light utility helicopters for the Army and Air Force are also on the anvil and many leading manufacturers will be showcasing their aircraft here. (Pics: What's on display at Aero India 2013 in Bangalore)

India's domestic aviation industry is always a highlight at Aero India - not just home-grown aircraft like the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas which is still to enter squadron service with the Indian Air Force but also collaborations like the Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), a model of which will be displayed.  

For aviation enthusiasts, Aero India is always a delight and this year is no different.  Making their debut at Aero India will be the world famous Rafale display team and the Russian Knights aerobatic squadron which features the Sukhoi-27 jet. 

Other star attractions include the giant US-C-17 heavy transport which enters service with the Indian Air Force in months and Rudra, the weaponised version of the indigenous Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter. 

Tiger_Moth__story_2.jpgFor many, though, the star of the show is likely to be a fully restored de Havilland DH82 Tiger Moth, a single engine bi-plane which first flew for the Royal Indian Air Force during the First World War.  Meticulously restored, the Tiger Moth is a key addition to the Indian Air Force's vintage flight unit, a great addition to Aero India, an opportunity to celebrate not just the future of aviation in the country but also its glorious past.  

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