IAF to showcase vintage aircraft at Aero India


Bangalore : Amidst the thunderous din of the modern-day supersonic fighter jets at Aero India 2009 beginning here Wednesday, aviation enthusiasts will also be able to savour a slice from the glorious past of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

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On show at the static display would be two of the IAF’s phased-out trainers – the De Havilland DH82 Tigermoth and Harvard aircraft.

The Tigermoth was a two-seat, single bay, biplane. The primary trainer for the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War, it was the basic trainer in the IAF from 1940. It was replaced by the indigenously-built HT-2.

The Harvard, on the other hand, was a single-engine advanced aircraft used to train fighter pilots of the RAF and other air forces of the Commonwealth during World War II. The IAF phased out its Harvards in 1973.

Meanwhile, Asia’s largest air show will see unprecedented participation of international and domestic companies in the aviation sector. With participation of 592 companies, 303 international and 289 Indian, the show has become bigger and larger, a defence ministry statement said.

Significantly, the participation of domestic exhibitors has steadily grown from 66 in its inaugural show in 1998, to 289 this year, accounting for nearly half the total exhibitor strength.

The seventh edition of the prestigious show will have about 44,000 sq metres of exhibition area as compared to 30,000 sq metres in 2007.

The IAF would be one of the major participants at the show with majority of its firepower on display.

This would include the air superiority fighter Sukhoi SU-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, the basic and intermediate jet trainer Kiran and the advanced jet trainer Hawk.

Rotor power would be seen in the form of MI-8s and the indigenous Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH), and transport support in the shape of the IL-78 MKI tanker, the AN-32 and the Dornier-228.

The Indian Army will showcase its prowess through Army Aviation Corps, which will display a mock special helicopter-borne operation.

Other major Indian participating agencies at the show are the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Centre for Airborne Systems and the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL).

The ADA will be presenting the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA). The world’s smallest fighter aircraft, it weighs a little over seven tonnes and can carry about 60 percent of its basic weight as ordnance.