India Flaunts LCA Tejas at ‘Aero India’; IAF Might on Full Display
A contract of 83 LCA Tejas fighters was also handed over to HAL by the Ministry of Defence at the show.
India on Wednesday, 3 February showcased its home-grown fighter Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas at Aero India 2021 at the Yelahanka air base, while Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made some key announcements related to the defence sector.
Flown by Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter pilot Manish Tolani, the indigenous Tejas demonstrated its prowess and agility through aerobatics, including rapid rolls, vertical Charlie, upside down and angular flying display on the first day of the event.
The 13th edition of the country's premier air show Aero India 2021 is being held in the backdrop of Bengaluru-based HAL bagging a Rs 48,000 crore order for fighter jet Tejas Mark 1A and India's engagement with Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries.
A contract for 83 LCA Tejas fighters was also handed over to HAL by the Ministry of Defence at the show.
“I am very happy that HAL has got orders for development of 83 new indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) – Tejas MK1A from Indian Air Force valued at more than Rs 48,000 Crores, it is probably the biggest ‘Make in India’ defence contract till date,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said at the event.
Designed and developed by the Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and built by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Tejas is the world's only light combat aircraft.
The IAF has already inducted the LCA-1 in its fighter fleet squadron at its Sulur air base in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore.
IAF's 9 Surya Kiran Hawks, 4 Sarang ALHs Dhruv Display Might
Other military aircraft that flew at the inaugural event of the air show in the presence of Defence Minister Singh, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and other dignitaries include Rafale fighters of the French aerospace major Dassault, Sukhoi-30 MKi, Jaguar, advanced jet trainer Hawk and HAL-made helicopters such as ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter), Light Combat Helicopter and Light Utility Helicopter.
The highlight of the 2-hour long opening show was the dazzling aerobatics by the IAF's 9 Surya Kiran Hawks and 4 Sarang ALHs Dhruv.
The US B1-Bomber also flew along with LCA at the opening event.
The maiden joint aerobatics by Surya Kirans and Sarang choppers was the highlight of the show at different altitudes.
Dornier 228, Hindustan Turbo Trainer (HTT)-40 and LUH and ALH Mk III of the HAL were also at the static display.
India to Spend $130 Billion on Defence in Coming Years: Rajnath Singh
Singh while addressing the event said that India plans to spend 130 billion dollars on military modernisation in the next 7-8 years.
“We have taken many steps to strengthen our security apparatus recently. Domestic manufacturing of bigger and complex defence platforms has now become the focus of our policy under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. We plan to spend 130 billion dollars on military modernisation,” he said.
To achieve the twin goals of self-reliance and exports, he said, a target has been set to achieve a turnover of Rs 1,75,000 crore, including exports worth Rs 35,000 crore in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2024, IANS reported.
Singh said that in aviation sector, Aero India is one of the brightest galaxies which offers a wide variety of options, solutions, partnerships and, most importantly, opportunities.
About 540 exhibitors, including 80 foreign companies, defence ministers and delegates, services chiefs and officials from more than 55 nations are participating in the event.
He said that 2020 was a challenging year for the entire world and saw adverse impact on the lives and livelihood of the people as well as industrial growth and economy of many countries. The minister said that despite the constraints caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, large participation was witnessed in this year's show.
Commenting on the stand-off with China, Singh said that India is ready to tackle attempts to change status quo at the borders.
“We have long witnessed unfortunate attempts to employ force to change the status quo at our unresolved borders,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier took to Twitter to laud the event and said that it brings futuristic reforms for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
“India offers unlimited potential in defence and aerospace. Aero India is a wonderful platform for collaborations in these areas. The Government of India has brought futuristic reforms in these sectors, which will add impetus to our quest to become Aatmanirbhar,” he tweeted.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI and IANS.)
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