In a first: Surya Kirans, Sarangs to put up integrated show

BENGALURU: In what will be a complicated flight envelope to plan and execute, two of Indian Air Force’s (IAF) elite aerobatic squads — the Surya Kiran, flying the fixed-wing Hawks and Sarang, flying the rotary-wing ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter) — will put up an integrated show for the first time this Aero India.
“So far, the two teams have only performed individually and this is the first time ever that there will be an integrated display by both of them,” air commodore Shailender Sood, air officer commanding (AOC), Air Force Station Yelahanka, said on Friday.
Aero India is scheduled between February 3 and 5 — reduced to a three-day event from the five days owing to the pandemic.
Public visitors will be restricted to the ADVA (air display viewing area) and no tickets will be sold for the exhibition area which will be strictly for business visitors.
Visitor numbers at the exhibition area have been capped at 15,000 while only 3,000 will be allowed at ADVA. However, the organisers could not immediately elaborate on whether these numbers are for all three days or daily.
Reiterating what defence minister Rajnath Singh had said earlier, Sood said: “This will be the first air show in the world to be conducted amid the pandemic, and it will be the first hybrid (physical and virtual) air show,” he said.
The show will be held simultaneously as a physical exhibition and a virtual one with stalls being provided in both the physical and virtual realms which will result in greater engagement and the exhibitors will experience a greater outreach catering to those who could not join the event physically.
Attendees joining the event virtually could participate in seminars, interact with the exhibitors and representatives, hold B2B meetings and could also view the product details and supporting videos.
Sood added that all Covid-19 measures are in place, based on the guidelines prepared by the technical advisory committee (TAC) of the state government.
All participants and the public have been mandated to carry a valid Covid-19 negative certificate.
Chinook, Apaches Likely?
As on date, more than 540 exhibitors, including 78 foreign ones have confirmed participation at the show, while 14 countries, including the US, UK and France will be sending delegations.
There will also be 143 virtual exhibitors.
Sood confirmed that at least 41 Indian aircraft will participate at the inaugural fly-past. The LCA Tejas and Rafale will be the highlights among the fixed-wing aircraft other than the Su-30, while a host of choppers including LUH (light utility helicopter) will be flying.
Sood said that modalities are being worked out to see if the Chinook and Apache platforms can also fly.
Further, there will be 63 static display aircraft, including a few civilian planes.
“There are also going to be foreign aircraft, but that is dynamic and very fluid at the moment. We’ll be able to confirm the exact details by the end of the month,” he said.
At least 11 foreign aircraft had shown interest, Sood said, to quickly add that there was no final confirmation.

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