'Aatmanirbhar' and 'Make In India' are the key buzzwords at the Yelahanka Air Force Base in Bengaluru as companies showcase cutting-edge technologies in aerospace. The event is the first international air show in a post-COVID world.
Over 500 Indian and 78 foreign companies are in attendance and the country's premier research and development organization, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), too has put on display prototypes of some of its indigenously developed futuristic creations. The government has also signed a contract worth Rs 48,000 crore with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for procuring 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, R Madhavan, the chairman and managing director of HAL said they have started assembly work at their new plant and that new plant will help them make 16 Tejas jets per year. He added that they can hike indigenous content to 65 percent post the 20th aircraft.
Also, Tata Group is the first private entity that would be developing and manufacturing a full-grade military aircraft in India. So far, military aircraft has been the domain of state-owned HAL alone. Sukaran Singh, the managing director of Tata Advanced Systems Limited said that the private sector needed to step up when it comes to military aircraft manufacturing in India. He also called on the government needs to speed up the processing time for clearing orders.
Big defence equipment makers like Boeing and Lockheed Martin also showcased their combat weaponry at the Aero Show in Bengaluru. William Blair, VP & Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin India said they are offering the F-21 exclusively to India and will be working with local partners for it.
Salil Gupte, President of Boeing India, said they are confident of F-15EX combat jet's capabilities and their focus area is dialogue with Indian Air Force (IAF) on the F-15EX. He said that they are in talks with the Indian Navy for the Super Hornet Fighter Jet.
Drones are the big area of focus for the Kalyani Group and prototypes of drones manufactured by them were on full display at the Aero India 2021. Baba Kalyani, chairman of the company said drones would be the future of warfare.For more highlights from Aero India 2021, watch video.