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US to make a big bang

A F-16 during the practice for the inaugural show of the Aero India 2009 at Air Force Station, Yelahanka in Bengaluru on February 8, 2009. PIB photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): The US companies will occupy the largest space in Aero India at Bangalore where they will make their presence felt in a big way by displaying a whole range of aircraft for the Indian market.

In terms of number of companies, Germany tops with maximum participation but when it comes to occupying the space in the exhibition ground at Yelahanka air base, the US beats its competitors.

The companies are not missing any chance to showcase their products as the show has already surpassed all expectations in terms of participation. There have been no cancellations till now for the show beginning on February 11.

The US is brining a mix of aircraft from fighter jets to helicopters to transport aircraft. Lockheed Martin will bring F-16 Fighting Falcon while Boeing is planning extensive flight demonstrations of its F/A-18 Hornet. The two aircraft are competing with each other for IAF's contract of 126 multi role combat jets.

There will be C-17 Glomemaster III transport aircraft as well along with C-130J Hercules and KC-135 Stratotanker. The Indian Air Force is looking to shop for all the three categories of aircraft that would be on display. IAF needs a new refueller. It has already bought six C-130 J and it is looking to buy a new heavy lift transport aircraft.

Apart from the aircraft, there will be big US delegation led by Ambassador David C Mulford. The officials said large number of US defence officials and other military leaders would be present in Bangalore for the air show.

The military ties between India and the US began opening up in the last seven to eight years. The armed forces of the two sides have had several rounds of joint exercises. India is no more apprehensive about dealing with the US and has started adding US military products in its arsenal. The navy has already bought USS Trenton and P-8 long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The IAF has also invited US companies to participate in hardware contracts.

The two sides were on different ends of geo-political spectrum during the cold war and have begun to shed their apprehensions and fears about dealing with each other. The relationship is growing and the US is one of the fastest emerging defence partners now.

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