The 12th edition of Asia's premier Air show 'Aero India-2019' began at Yelahanka air force station in Bengaluru on Wednesday with 61 metal birds, including HAL's indigenous products Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, roaring in the city sky.
The five-day long biennial event, which will showcase India's air defence prowess, will also act as a platform for aviation companies, the defence sector and government to forge new alliances and contracts.
#WATCH: Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) performs at the #AeroIndia2019 in Bengaluru; also pays homage to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who gave it the name 'Tejas' pic.twitter.com/qZJSt38NrH— ANI (@ANI) February 20, 2019
Bengaluru: The 'Sarang', the helicopter aerobatic team of the IAF, perform during the #AeroIndiaShow; ends its show with split manoeuvre after saluting Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (pic 2) pic.twitter.com/r70qtILjCd— ANI (@ANI) February 20, 2019
Bengaluru:3 Indian Air Force aircraft with a Su-30MKi in lead as the leader fly the missing man formation at Air Force Station Yelahanka as a tribute to Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi who lost his life y'day in a mid-air collision during rehearsal in a Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team's aircraft pic.twitter.com/Vdm2KGsjux— ANI (@ANI) February 20, 2019
The tragic death of a pilot from IAF's aerobatic team Surya Kiran during a rehearsal earlier on Tuesday has cast its shadow on the show. IAF pilot Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi died on Tuesday after two Surya Kiran aircraft collided in the air and crashed while rehearsing near the Yelahanka airbase.
"Gandhi sustained fatal injuries while two other aircrew, Wing Commander V.T Shelke and Squadron Leader T.J. Singh, ejected and were airlifted to Air Force Command Hospital in the city," an IAF statement said.
This edition of Aero India was marked by controversy with reports about it being shifted to Uttar Pradesh, which had taken a political colour, as the Congress-JD(S)led government in the state had hit out at the BJP led Centre against the alleged move.
Besides the Tejas, the HTT-40 (Basic Trainer Aircraft), first indigenously upgraded Hawk Mk132- named as Hawk-i, Civil Do-228, Advanced Light Helicopter (Rudra), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) flew in the air show.
Also, aerobatic teams like India's Sarang (ALH-Dhruv) and UK-based Yakovlevs enthralled the audience.
On static display were HAL's Light Utility Helicopter (PT-1), Light Combat Helicopter (TD-2), Advanced Light Helicopter (Rudra) and ALH MICU (Medical Intensive CareUnit).
The Sukhoi SU-30, Rafale, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Super Hornet and the mighty B-52 Stratofortress bomber were part of the air show.
The Aero India official website said a total of 61 aircraft would be on display and 403 exhibitors would be part of the show.
CEO's round table, drone Olympics, startup manthan and women's day (to celebrate women achievers) were some of the highlights of Aero India-2019.
(With inputs from agencies)