Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ (MII) call seems to have rung a bell with the global aviation majors, who have military manufactures in their portfolio. They, 330 of them, have bought space at the venue of the tenth Aero India ’15, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) own air field.
Coupled with 270 domestic manufacturers, the two groups are expected to feverishly tie-up deals at the air show.
The pie is certainly large enough: $ 100 billion to be spent over ten years. The air force that had stolen a march over the other two Services in initiating deals for fourth and fifth generation aircrafts, should be looking to firm them up in good measures.
The new demand is for about 1000 choppers of various kinds that all three Services need. Army Aviation needs ‘close air support’ attack helicopters – Boeing’s Apaches being on its purchase radar. They also want Chinooks as ‘heavy lift’ choppers.
The navy wants light utility choppers that will now have to be built under MII category with a joint venture between an Indian firm and a foreign entity. It also wants multi-role choppers for anti-submarine warfare and other similar functions. Then there are the medium lift helicopters for the air force.
Overall, Aero India, the sub-continent’s pre-eminent air show will again be the cynosure of many eyes.