Thursday, February 04, 2021

Aero India 2021: Surya Kirans, Sarangs win hearts; HAL planes dominate air display

Bengaluru: The inaugural of Aero India 2021 was a simple affair compared to flair and colour of previous editions. The integrated display of Surya Kirans and Sarangs enthralled the limited number of spectators allowed on the first day.

The air display was crowded by HAL-manufactured aircraft in the absence of a big foreign presence. Other than the Rafale — which for the first time flew in Indian colours at Aero India — and the US B-1B Lancer bomber, all other aircraft, including choppers, were from the hangars of HAL.

Chief minister BS Yediyurappa said: “It is a matter of pride for Karnataka and the people of Bengaluru for being chosen to host another edition of the show. Over the years, the state has created a unique infrastructure and ecosystem for holding an event of this magnitude.” Yediyurappa said around 65% of India’s aerospace exports are done from here, while 67% of production also happens in the state.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh, terming Karnataka a progressive and technologically advanced state inspired by people like Basavanna and M Visvesvaraya, said: “The investor-friendly government and infrastructure has made the state an attractive destination. Aero India has become one of the brightest galaxies in the universe of aerospace.”

The inaugural flying display, which usually is a major highlight of the show, was incomparable with the previous editions. It began with three Mi-8 helicopters flying in formation before Singh and others spoke. The actual display started with two ALH maritime choppers and a light utility helicopter flying in formation, followed by a Dhanush formation by light combat helicopter and HAL’s Atmanirbhar formation flight that had the HTT-40, Hawk-i, Sitara (intermediate jet trainer) and Dornier-228.

This was followed by the AeWA&CS and a Vijay formation involving a C-17 and two Su-30 aircraft. Three Rafale aircraft flew past three galleries of people at top speed.

The Su-30 also did a flypast followed by some manoeuvres by LCH, as the Surya Kirans (SK) and Sarangs prepared for take off.

04/02/21 Chethan Kumar/Times of India

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