India, Pakistan showcase aviation wares at Farnborough airshowBy Venkata Vemuri, IANS
Monday, July 19, 2010
FARNBOROUGH - Led by their respective state-run agencies, India and Pakistan are exhibiting their aviation wares at the Farnborough International Airshow that got underway Monday at this town, some 55 km from southwest of London.
India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) are among 1,393 exhibitors from 40 countries taking part in the 47th edition of the show at this Hampshire town, one of the biggest in the aviation calendar.
India’s Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju is leading the Indian delegation, which includes Defence Production Secretary Raj Kumar Singh and the chief of the Southern Air Command, Air Marshal S. Mukerji.
HAL gained credibility as a serious exhibitor in the international arena after two star products from its stable — the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) “Dhruv” and the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) — made a mark at the previous edicition of the show here in 2008.
A specialist defence news website, globalnews.net, has said that American giant Lockheed Martin is likely to display an aerial refueling device at the airshow, which was co-developed with HAL for the F-16 fighter aircraft.
“This makes it the first time an Indian company was involved in a high-technology sub-system development of the F-16 fighter aircraft,” it said in a recent report.
Lockheed Martin’s intention to display the device at Farnborough “was to show the high tech capabilities of its Indian partner and expose the world market for F-16 aircraft to the possibility of buying F-16 sub-systems from India”, the website said.
“With over 500 F-16 fighters in service with 22 countries, the Indian probe-and-drogue refueling system could find a wide market provided it was tested and certified by the military aviation authorities in the buyer countries.”
The F-16 is one of the six jets in contention for an Indian Air Force order for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft in a deal valued at $10 billion.
Pakistan is displaying its JF-17 fighter jet, developed with China’s help, for the first time at the airshow.
The JF-17 is a single-engined, medium-sized, light-weight multi-role combat aircraft, developed jointly by the Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corp (CAC) of China and the Pakistan Air Force.
Incidentally, the exhibitors from Pakistan and China — the PAC and China National Aero-Technology Import-Export Corp (CATIC) — are shown on the Farnborough website as sharing the same stand at the airshow.
Highlights of this year’s show include the eagerly-awaited international debut of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger airplane offering buyers from all over the globe the first opportunity to tour the aircraft.
The flight test airplane ZA0003 touched down at Farnborough Sunday and will remain on static display through to midday Tuesday, the organisers said. State-run Air India has ordered 27 such aircraft, while private carrier Jet Airways has opted for 10.
A biennial event, the Farnborough International Airshow in 2008 was attended by over 130,000 trade visitors with exhibiting companies announcing order figures of $88.7 billion, more than doubling 2006 figures of $42bn.
(Venkata Vemuri can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org)