Marketing blitzkrieg, aerial theatrics marks Aero India Show

Last Updated: Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 21:22

Bangalore: It was a blend of marketing
blitzkrieg and aerial theatrics that capped the five-day Aero
India show, touted as one of the biggest events showcasing the
multi-crore opportunity of India`s fast growing defence market
and the fierce competition among global defence majors to woo
India.

The concluding day here was marked by flagging off of
India`s old refurbished warhorse, Pushpak on a 11,000 km
expedition.

The World War-I unarmed aircraft, Pushpak, took off on a
30-day expedition, to commemorate the silver jubilee year of
the Army Aviation Corps.

The aircraft, which served in the 1965 and 1971 wars, would
visit all the erstwhile Air Observation bases.

The huge civilian turnout today was also greeted to some
stunning mid-air manoeuvres by both Indian and foreign
military aircraft.

Aerial displays by homegrown Tejas, Indian aerobatic team,
Suryakiran, the Indian helicopter team, Sarang enthralled
several. The Czech based team today left several gaping as the
Flying Bulls presented their complex manoeuvres.

Military state-of-the aircraft from Sweden, France, US
Europe, Russia also displayed their prowess mid-air.

The aeroshow received both national and international
attention, with the participation of nearly 75,000 business
visitors this year as against 50,000 in the previous event,
according to CII officials.

In all nearly two lakh visitors it to the aero show which
witnessed some fierce competition with major international
aerospace players bidding for the USD 10 billion medium
multi-role combat aircraft contract in India, which is
expected to be finalised next year.

Over 600 exhibitors from across the country and the
world showcased their components and technology at the event.

"There have been some serious enquiries", a CII official
said but refused to divulge details.

The highlight of the event was handing over of `Cheetah`
to Namibia and signing of Joint Venture between L and T and
Cassidian.

Global defence majors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin,
Swedish Saab, European Eurofighters, French Dassault, launched
aggressive marketing blitzkrieg, with the aim of winning the
MMRCA deal.

Union Minister AK Antony`s statement that the deal would
be decided next year, turned the voltage of the competiton
several decibels higher, with all defence majors trying to
garner maximum media mileage.

The show was sprinkled with both aerial and on-ground
theatrics. Many of the defence majors roped in celebrities to
highlight the state-of-art technology and the fighting
prowess of their products.

While Boeing roped in industrialist-captain Ratan Tata
to fly the Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin roped in US
ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer to fly the combat
aircraft. MP Jindal was roped in to fly the French Rafael.

But it was Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor who stole the
limelight, when he decided to tame the F-16, as part of a
promotional campaign for his forthcoming film "Mausam".

There was also ample star power at the show with
cricketers, Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni, actors Gul Panag and Dino
Morea making their presence felt at the show.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 21:22

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