The ninth edition of the biennial Aero India took off on Wednesday on a "flying" note with a stunning display of fighters, choppers and transport aircraft at the Indian Air Force (IAF) Yelahanka base on Bangalore's outskirts.
On a bright sunny day under a clear sky, Defence Minister A.K. Antony flagged off the five-day international event in the presence of foreign delegations, envoys, diplomats, service personnel and other dignitaries from across the country and abroad.
Billed as the largest event of its kind in South Asia, the international expo on aerospace, defence and civil aviation is showcasing the latest products and technologies through 650 exhibitors from 27 nations, including Belgium, UK, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia and Ukraine.
Soon after the formal opening and customary addresses, about 5,000 invitees were treated to over hour-long flying display of various aircraft starting with the IAF vintage Tigermoth trainer followed by the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, French fighter Rafale, Sukhoi, Mirage 2000 and Hawk jet trainer.
In between, the aerobatic team of Flying Bulls from Czech Republic enthralled the audience with daring feats in four aircraft, demonstrating skills by flying in formations, rolling and crossing over with amazing manoeuvres.
Aerobatics by IAF's Sarang team in Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) made up for the absence of the show star aerobatic team of Surya Kirans, which have been grounded.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, defence secretary Shashikant Sharma, defence production secretary R.K. Mathur, Defence Research and Development Organisation and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and HSBC country head Naina Lal Kidwai were among those present at the inaugural ceremony.