Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 14th edition of Asia’s largest aero show –– Aero India 2023 – in Bengaluru, Karnataka on February 13, 2023. Spanning over five days, the event, on the theme ‘The runway to a billion opportunities’, will radiate the rise of a strong & self-reliant ‘New India’ by displaying India’s growth in aerospace and defence capabilities. The focus will be on showcasing indigenous equipment/technologies and forging partnerships with foreign companies, in line with ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ vision for a secure and prosperous future.
Addressing the curtain raiser press conference in Bengaluru on February 12, 2023, Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh stated that the Aero India 2023 will showcase the country’s manufacturing prowess and the progress achieved towards realising the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ as envisioned by the Prime Minister. This event will significantly contribute to the development of the aerospace and aviation sector, he said.
Biggest-ever Aero India
February 13th to 15th will be business days, while 16th & 17th have been set as public days to allow people to witness the show. The event comprises a Defence Ministers’ Conclave; a CEOs Round Table; Manthan start-up event; Bandhan ceremony; breath-taking air shows; a large exhibition; India Pavilion and a trade fair of aerospace companies.
Organised at Air Force Station, Yelahanka in a total area of around 35,000 sqm, the event, the biggest-ever till date, is likely to witness the participation of 98 countries. The Defence Ministers of 32 countries, Air Chiefs of 29 countries and 73 CEOs of global and Indian OEMs are expected to attend the event. Eight hundred and nine (809) defence companies, including MSMEs and start-ups, will showcase the advancement in niche technologies and the growth in aerospace and defence sector.
The Raksha Mantri termed the record international participation as the reflection of not just India’s buyer-seller ties with different countries, but also their shared vision of global prosperity.
Major exhibitors & equipment
The major exhibitors include Airbus, Boeing, Dassault Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industry, BrahMos Aerospace, Army Aviation, HC Robotics, SAAB, Safran, Rolls Royce, Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and BEML Limited. About five lakh visitors are expected to attend the event physically and many millions more will connect through Television and internet.
Aero India 2023 will showcase design leadership, growth in UAVs Sector, Defence Space and futuristic technologies. The event aims to promote export of indigenous air platforms like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas, HTT-40, Dornier Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). It will integrate domestic MSMEs and start-ups in global supply chain and attract foreign investments including the partnerships for co-development and co-production.
Shri Rajnath Singh emphasised that Aero India 2023 will provide a renewed thrust to the Government’s efforts to create a vibrant and world-class domestic defence industry in order to achieve the goal of ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence as well as overall development of the nation. “A strong and self-reliant defence sector will play a pivotal role in helping India emerge as one of the top three world economies in the times to come. Achievements in the defence sector provide wide spin-off benefits to the Indian economy. The technologies developed in the field are equally useful for civilian purposes. In addition, a temperament towards science & technology and innovation is created in the society, which helps in the overall development of the nation,” he said.
Defence Ministers’ Conclave
The Raksha Mantri will host Defence Ministers’ Conclave on 14th February. Defence Ministers of friendly foreign countries will participate in the meeting, which has been organised on the theme ‘Shared Prosperity through Enhanced Engagements in Defence (SPEED). The conclave would address aspects related to deepen cooperation for capacity building (through investments, R&D, joint venture, co-development, co-production and provisioning of defence equipment), training, space, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and maritime security to grow together. The conclave is an opportunity for the defence ministers to engage with each other to carry forward the ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ vision.
Shri Rajnath Singh termed the Defence Ministers’ Conclave as an extremely important event, which he said, will justify its theme by providing ‘SPEED’ to the increasing defence cooperation with friendly countries.
On the sidelines of Aero India 2023, a number of bilateral meetings will be held at the levels of Raksha Mantri, Raksha Rajya Mantri, Chief of Defence Staff and Defence Secretary among others. The focus will be on bolstering the defence & aerospace ties with friendly countries by exploring newer avenues to take the partnership to the next level.
CEOs Round Table
The ‘CEOs Round Table’, under the chairmanship of the Raksha Mantri, will be held on 13th February on the theme ‘Sky is not the limit: opportunities beyond boundaries’. It is expected to lay the foundation of a more robust interaction between the Industry Partners and Government with an eye on bolstering the ‘Make in India’ campaign. It is further expected to increase ‘Ease of doing business’ in India and provide a favourable platform to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for manufacturing in India.
The Round Table will witness participation from officials, delegates and global CEOs from 26 countries including global investors such as Boeing, Lockheed, Israel Aerospace Industries, General Atomics, Liebherr Group, Raytheon Technologies, Safran, General Authority of Military Industries (GAMI) etc. Domestic PSUs like HAL, BEL, BDL, BEML Limited and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited will also participate. Premier private Defence and Aerospace manufacturing companies from India such as Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge, Dynamatic Technologies, BrahMos Aerospace are also likely to be part of the event.
Shri Rajnath Singh stated that the CEOs Round Table will provide an opportunity to explore the strength and capabilities of Indian defence industry in the presence of world’s top business leaders.
The Bandhan ceremony, which witnesses signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs)/Agreements, Transfer of Technologies, Product Launches and other major announcements, will be held on February 15th. The Raksha Mantri will preside over the event. Two hundred and fifty one (251) MoUs, with an expected investment of Rs 75,000 crore, are likely to be signed for partnerships between various Indian/foreign defence companies and organisations. The Raksha Mantri expressed confidence that the event will forge new partnerships with organisations within the country & abroad and ensure that collective growth is achieved by moving forward together.
The annual defence innovation event, Manthan, will be the flagship technology showcase event to be held on 15th February. Being organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), the Manthan platform will bring the leading innovators, start-ups, MSMEs, incubators, academia and Investors from defence & aerospace ecosystem under one roof. The Raksha Mantri will preside over the event.
Manthan will have many firsts, including launch of challenges on Cyber Security, establishment of iDEX Investor Hub, MoUs with investors etc. Manthan 2023 will provide an overview on the future vision/next initiatives of iDEX to galvanise the start-up ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in the defence sector.
Shri Rajnath Singh described ‘Manthan’ as a unique platform for India’s budding entrepreneurs. “The ever-increasing number of start-ups and unicorns in India is a proof that India is today one of the countries with the most favourable environment for start-ups. Through Manthan, our youth, in the field of Defence Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security, E-Management, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Autonomous Systems and other innovations for future forces will be able to showcase their capabilities and empower themselves as well as the defence sector,” he said.
The ‘India Pavilion’, based on ‘Fixed Wing Platform’ theme, will showcase India’s growth in the area, including the future prospects. There will be a total of 115 companies, displaying 227 products. It will further showcase the growth of India in developing an ecosystem for Fixed Wing platform which includes the demonstrating of various structural modules, simulators, systems (LRUs) etc. of LCA-Tejas aircraft being produced by Private Partners. There will also be a section for Defence space, New Technologies and a UAV section which will give an insight about the growth of India in each sector.
A full scale LCA-Tejas aircraft in Full Operational Capability (FOC) configuration will be at the center stage of India Pavilion. LCA Tejas is a single engine, light weight, highly agile, multi-role supersonic fighter. It has quadruplex digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS) with associated advanced flight control laws. The aircraft with delta wing is designed for ‘air combat’ and ‘offensive air support’ with ‘reconnaissance’ and ‘anti-ship’ as its secondary roles. Extensive use of advanced composites in the airframe gives a high strength to weight ratio, long fatigue life and low radar signatures.
Shri Rajnath Singh stated that the pavilion will introduce the potential, opportunities and possibilities of ‘New India’ to the world. There will be an exhibition of indigenous defence products, in which established business organisations and start-ups will be able to demonstrate their products. He exuded confidence that the pavilion will be helpful in bringing India’s emerging capabilities in the defence and aerospace sector to the world.
A number of seminars will be held during the five-day event. The themes include ‘Harnessing Potential of Ex-servicemen for Indian Defence Industry; India’s Defence Space Initiative: Opportunities for shaping Indian private space ecosystem; Indigenous development of futuristic aerospace technologies, including aero engines; Destination Karnataka: US-India defence cooperation innovation and Make in India; Advancement in maritime surveillance equipment and assets; sustenance in MRO and Obsolescence Mitigation and achieving excellence in defence grade drones and Aatmanirbharta in Aero Armament Sustenance.
Karnataka Pavilion: Opportunities & Possibilities
Aero India 2023 will have a separate Karnataka Pavilion which will showcase to the participants the opportunities available in the state. The Raksha Mantri described Karnataka as the frontrunner state which is contributing to the economic growth of the country. “This state is known for its skilled human-resource and a robust defence manufacturing ecosystem. It is a preferred centre for manufacturing and R&D activities, for domestic and multinational defence and aviation companies. The presence of many defence-related public & private companies and R&D institutions such as BEML, DRDO, ISRO, IISc, Mahindra Aerospace, Airbus, Boeing etc., makes Karnataka a leading state of aerospace industry in India. The state will become the centre of defence and aerospace manufacturing for the whole world in the times to come,” he hoped.
The Raksha Mantri also highlighted the benefits of Aero India for the youth of Karnataka, saying that their pavilion will showcase the state’s opportunities and possibilities and likely investments will create new jobs. He reiterated that the Government’s focus is on the future of the youth.
Citing a quote from Bharat Ratna M Visvesvaraya, ‘The way to build a nation is to build a good citizen. The majority of the citizens should be efficient, of good character and possess a reasonably high sense of duty’, the Raksha Mantri said, taking inspiration from such visionaries, the Government came out with the National Education Policy 2020 to establish coordination of knowledge, skill and character among youth and at the same time created a robust industrial environment. Aero-India is also a humble tribute to visionaries like M. Visvesvaraya, he said.
Shri Rajnath Singh concluded his address by urging media to provide extensive visibility to the event and present the rise of a ‘New India’ to the world. He stated that media can play the role of medium in connecting the people with the phenomenal progress in the defence sector.
Karnataka Chief Minister Shri Basavaraj Bommai, Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Ajay Bhatt, Minister of Large and Medium Industries of Karnataka Shri Murugesh Rudrappa Nirani, Defence Secretary Shri Giridhar Aramane, Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka Smt Vandita Sharma and other senior officials of the state government and Ministry of Defence were present on the occasion.