NEW DELHI — The United States will continue to top the list of participants at Aero India 2013, the biannual aero show at Bangalore being held from Feb. 6-10. U.S. participation has increased from 63 companies in the 2011 show to 67 this year, followed by 49 participants from France, 33 from the United Kingdom and 29 from Russia.
However, Germany has slashed its participation from 43 companies in 2011 to 22 in 2013.
In all, 607 companies, including 352 foreign, and 78 official national delegations have confirmed their participation in the show, said an Indian Defence Ministry official.
The value of the Indian defense market is estimated to jump from the projected $100 billion to $150 billion in the next seven to 10 years because the country has to prepare to fight China and Pakistan simultaneously, says Nitin Mehta, a defense analyst.
Show highlights are expected to be the display of the Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and the homemade weaponized version of the Advance Light Helicopter Mark-4. Among the static displays will be the homemade Light Combat Aircraft and the Rustom and Nishant UAVs.
Unlike 2011, when the focus was on the $11 billion Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, this year’s interest will be on the FGFA, which could see a potential order of $25 billion from the Indian Air Force. However, the roadmap of work participation in the FGFA has still to be finalized.
India’s Hindustan Aeronautics and Russia’s Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi Design Bureau will jointly develop and produce the FGFA, which is based on Russia’s T-50 aircraft, prototypes of which are already fighting.
In November of 2011, the Pentagon told the U.S. Congress that it was prepared to offer the Joint Strike Fighter to India. New Delhi, however, has not responded to the offer and Defence Ministry officials have said the MoD will go ahead with the Russian FGFA.
India contracted for Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster transporter last year, and the Pilatus PC-7 Mark-2 basic trainer, contracted from Switzerland, will fly at the show. The Indian Defence Ministry is considering acquiring additional C-17s beyond the 10 already contracted for at a cost of $4.1 billion last year.
The Indian Air Force plans to induct more than 350 fighter jet aircraft by the end of the decade, including 126 from the MMRCA program, more than 160 new Russian-made Su-30 MKIs and over 140 homemade Light Combat Aircraft.