To Promote Make in India, Defence Export; Aero India to Focus on Indigenous Helicopter Display

Aero India 2021

New Delhi: In keeping with the policy of “Make in India,” the focus at the upcoming biennial aerospace show Aero India 2021 would be on promoting defence exports with a display of a range of indigenously developed helicopters while Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to hold a conclave of Defence Ministers from the Indian Ocean Littoral (IOR) states.

“We have matured in helicopters and have several in various categories. We are now capable of [designing and manufacturing] any kind of helicopter,” officials said.

A Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), a weaponised Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and a Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) will be on display inside the pavilion, the official said. A civilian version of the ALH will be on display outside. All these helicopters have been designed and manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

In addition to the Defence Ministers’ conclave, plans are also on to hold an Air Chiefs’ conclave. Also, about six to seven official delegations are expected to be there at Aero India in addition to various companies. With less than a month left for the biennial airshow, construction of the halls and facilities is at advanced stages of completion.

Stating that there was a lot of interest in Aero India as other such major air shows have been cancelled, the official said, “More than 98 per cent of the stalls are booked and about 93 per cent of them have paid for it.”

The LUH for the Army, which has completed all tests and also demonstrated its high-altitude capability in hot and high weather conditions last September, is likely to get the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) at the Aero India, the official said. The Air Force variant was accorded the IOC by the Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) in February last year.

The LUH is a three-tonne helicopter positioned as replacement for the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters in service. According to HAL, it is capable of flying at 220 kmph, service ceiling of 6.5 km and a range of 350 km with 500 kg payload.

In view of the pandemic, the 13th edition of the biennial Aero India will be held only on three business days from February 3. Every safety precaution with respect to COVID-19 has been taken.

The government has set an ambitious target of achieving a manufacturing turnover of US$25 billion or Rs 1,75,000 crore including exports of US$5 billion in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2025.

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