With little over a month left for Aero India to start, around 47 metal birds that will take part in the airshow have confirmed their participation.
While a majority of the aircraft that would be taking part in flying and static display during the airshow are Indian made or belong to the Indian armed forces, a few foreign ones too are making their presence felt. Aero India is to be held at the Air Force Station Yelahanka between February 23 and 24.
Among the Indian aircraft, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will have the largest presence with nine aircraft which will be on both flying and static display, followed by the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
The aerobatic teams who have confirmed their participation include the Indian Air Forces (IAF) Surya Kiran and the Sarang teams. After a hiatus of eight years, Surya Kiran will return with its nine-aircraft formation during next months’ Aero India.
Surya Kiran used to be a big draw, performing stunts in Kiran MK-II aircraft, a basic trainer for IAF’s budding fighter pilots. It had been the mainstay at the biennial Aero India since 1996. However, the team was disbanded after the 2011 edition of the air show as the IAF decided to reroute the Kiran Mk-II’s solely for training purposes due to a shortage of trainer aircraft.
The Surya Kiran team later made a conversion to the Hawk Mk-132 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) and since 2015 have been training and performing with the Hawk aircraft. Though the Surya Kiran team performed at 2017 edition of the airshow, it was with a six-aircraft formation and not the nine aircraft formation.
Also making a return to the airshow after many years is the NAL designed and developed SARAS PT1N which last performed in the Aero India 2009. The SARAS program was grounded since 2009 following a crash of prototype of the aircraft in the outskirts of Bangalore and took to the skies only last year. The 14-seater aircraft will be among the aircraft that will be part in the flying display.
Among the vintage aircraft which will be taking part in the airshow is the Dakota aircraft.
Among the foreign helicopters and military aircraft which will be on static display are the Airbus H135 and Airbus H145 the Airbus A400M, C295 and the ANTONOV 132D. Two Rafales will also be part of the flying display.