Asia’s premier air show, “Aero India” came to a close today with the event turning into a carnival on the last two days as nearly three lakh people thronged the Air Force Station at Yelahanka here to witness the splendid aerial feast by the metal birds.
The 10th edition of the biennial five-day event that began on Wednesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi making a strong pitch to end India’s dependence on defence imports, saw over 300 foreign firms vying with each other to align with the government’s “Make in India” campaign as they eye the burgeoning multi-billion dollar Indian defence market.
Aero India 2015 turned out to be big sheer in numbers with no mega defence deal on the ground.
According to the organisers, nearly three lakh people turned up on Saturday and Sunday when the show was thrown open to the general visitors with the road leading to the air base on city outskirts being choked.
Braving hot weather, thousands of people crawling through heavy traffic on the highway headed to the air base, which presented the picture of a sea of humanity, with crowds jostling for vantage places and craning their necks to witness the daredevilry of aerobatic teams from across the globe.
Besides 54 ministerial and other high-level delegations from several countries that attended the event, the exhibition at the show saw participation of over 600 companies, including 295 Indian and 328 foreign companies.
This year’s air show also witnessed a few anxious moments when two pilots of Red Bulls aerobatic team of the Czech Republic had a miraculous escape on the second day after their aircraft touched wings in mid-air while doing stunts.
The aircraft landed safely but with their wings damaged.
The air show turned out be a huge attraction for aviation aficionados who thronged the event to witness the static and air display by various aircraft, including fighter, transport, helicopter and aerobatic display teams.
Indian Air Force Sarang Team and air display teams from Sweden, UK, Czech Republic and open sky jump by USA Special Forces were among top draws at the bennial event.
Rafale fighters of French giant Dassault — shortlisted for acquisition by the IAF, also made its aerobatics displays, while indigenously made Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) demonstrated its air prowess.
Seven of the 11 foreign military aircraft on display were American — two F-15C Eagles, two F-16C Fighting Falcons, one Boeing KC-135 tanker, one C-17 Globemaster III and a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.
The US with 64 companies had the biggest presence at the event, in which 33 other countries took part.
France was the second biggest participant with 58 companies, followed by the UK with 48, Russia with 41, Israel with 25 and Germany with 17, the organisers said.