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Aero India begins with dazzling displays by aerobatic teams

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BENGALURU (PTI): A breathtaking display of thrilling manoeuvres by military aircraft and aerobatic teams left the audience spell-bound at the 11th edition of Aero India air show that started here on Tuesday.

The Bengaluru skies over the Yelahanka airbase were dazzled with somersaults and stunts by metal birds with the daredevilry of world famous aerobatics teams in full flow.

Billed as Asia's premier air show, the biennial edition of International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition - Aero India 2017 was inaugurated by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Betting high on the Defence market in India, global aerospace giants are hard selling their wares with potential deals worth billions of Dollars on offer.

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa and Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba were also present.

Enthralling stunts were performed by helicopter display team "Sarang", Indian Air Force's "Surya Kiran" and 'SKYCATS- Scandinavian Air Show' aerobatics teams.

It was a special occasion for Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team (SKAT) as they marked their 500th public display since formation in 1996.

SKAT, with a fleet of brand new single engine, jet powered advanced Hawk aircraft and redefined manoeuvres was back after having skipped two editions of the Aero India.

Hawk aircraft are faster and more manoeuvrable than the Kiran aircraft SKAT used earlier.

Embraer 145 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft equipped with the first ever Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar, and LUH were displayed for the very first time at the Aero show.

The air display began with Mi-17 helicopters trooping in the Indian tricolour, Indian Air Force and Aero India flags.

It was followed by indigenously built HAL products comprising Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) flanked by Cheetal helicopter, Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH).

A formation comprising Dornier Do 228, Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, HTT-40 (Basic Trainer Aircraft) and Hawk then followed.

A total of 549 companies are taking part in the event, of which 270 are Indian and 279 foreign. About two lakh business visitors are expected to attend the show, in which 72 aircraft are participating, according to the organisers.

Enthralling manoeuvres were performed by HTT-40, LCH, LUH, Tiger Moth, homegrown LCA (Tejas), Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Gripen fighter, Rafale fighter, F16, Pilatus PC-7 aircrafts.

Also there is a static display of HTT-40, upgraded Jaguar and Mirage 2000, LCH and LUH at the air show.

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