The inauguration of Aero India 2023 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a clear indication of the Indian Government’s strong support for the development of the Aerospace and Defence sector, its commitment to promoting indigenous manufacturing and also significantly boost Defence exports
The 14th edition of the biennial air show of India, the Aero India 2023 was held in Bengaluru from February 13-17. The air show showcased India’s growing capabilities in the aerospace and defence sector and provided an opportunity for Indian manufacturers to display their capabilities and forge partnerships with international manufacturers. According to the Ministry of Defence, the event attracted about 98 countries, 32 Defence Ministers, 29 Air Chiefs, and 73 CEOs of various Indian and international defence manufacturers, as well as MSMEs and startups. Additionally, the breathtaking air show took over the Bengaluru sky and caught the crowd’s attention who marvelled at the fighter jets, helicopters, aerobatic aircraft and drones maneuvering in the sky along with a wide spectrum of displays and exciting deals, launches that took place. The show strengthened India’s position of its advancement towards becoming a global defence manufacturing hub as well as the largest growing aviation market. A detailed show report has been included in this edition.
Continuing the fervour of India’s geopolitical standing strengthening globally, this issue covers the visits of the Italian and Japanese Prime Ministers to India during March 2023. In his report, Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd) covers how India’s partnership with Italy is now seeing sunny days, after a turbulent past, and the defence relationship between the two countries is all set to grown significantly. In another article, Ranjit Kumar talks about India - Japan Bilateral Strategic relations as one of the success stories of Indian diplomacy in the first two decades of the 21st century. In the changing geopolitical dynamics this unique bilateral partnership, named a special strategic global partnership, is tilting the strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific.
Apart from strategic cooperations with foreign countries, this edition also highlights the status of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and where it needs to strengthen itself. Joseph Noronha analyses the IAF fighter fleet after the Rafale induction and the possible additions going forward as the fighter fleet of the IAF continues to evolve. The report highlights that in the medium-to-long term, the entire IAF fighter fleet needs to change over to 4.5 and fifth-generation aircraft.
Even the civil aviation industry in India is on a roll with fleet exploration and expansion. According to CAPA, Indian airlines are set to put orders for up to 1,700 planes within the next two years. Air India, IndiGo, Akasa Air, Go First, and Vistara have together placed orders for at least 1,115 planes. The largest order that caught all eyes and ears is the most recent one by Air India that is in its transition phase. Air India’s acquisition of 470 wide-body and narrow-body aircraft is valued at $70 billion. The joint order from Boeing and Airbus is the largest ever placed by any airline. A detailed report by Ayushee Chaudhary is part of this issue.
Alongside aircraft, the issue also throws light on the carrier’s engine orders from GE, CFM, and Rolls Royce, with the largest being of over 800 CFM Leap Engines. Further expanding on the capabilities of the CFM engines, Joseph Noronha writes on the track record of delivering high-quality engines like the CFM56 and the LEAP-1.
All this and more in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and we wish you many happy landings!