NEW DELHI — The U.S. will continue to top the list of participants at Aero India 2013, the biannual aero show at Bangalore being held 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 U.K. 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, an Indian Defence Ministry official said.
The value of the Indian defense market is projected to jump from $100 billion to $150 billion in the next seven to 10 years because the country plans to prepare for possible simultaneous wars with China and Pakistan, defense analyst Nitin Mehta said.
Show highlights are expected to include the display of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), jointly developed by India and Russia, and the weaponized version of India’s Advanced Light Helicopter Mark-4. Among the static displays will be the Light Combat Aircraft and the Rustom and Nishant UAVs, all made in India.
Unlike 2011, when the focus was on the $11 billion Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, interest this year will center on the FGFA. The Indian Air Force is expected to order up to 250 of the fighters for about $25 billion.
However, the roadmap of work participation for 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 Russian company Sukhoi’s T-50 aircraft, prototypes of which are already flying.
In November 2011, the Pentagon told the U.S. Congress that it was prepared to offer the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to India. But New Delhi has not responded to the offer, and Defence Ministry officials here have said the MoD will go ahead with the Russian FGFA.
The Indian Air Force plans to induct more than 350 fighter jets by the end of the decade, including 126 from the MMRCA program, more than 160 new Russian-built Su-30 MKIs and more than 140 Light Combat Aircraft.
India last year contracted for 10 C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft from U.S. company Boeing, at a cost of $4.1 billion, and for PC-7 Mark-2 basic trainers from Switzerland’s Pilatus. Both aircraft will fly at the show.
The Indian Defence Ministry is considering acquiring additional C-17s.