As Bangalore, the holy land of India for aerospace, gears up for the 11th edition of the famed Aero India, it is work at full pace in HAL’s hangars. The complete workforce of the defence PSU is busy getting mighty flying machines ready for their respective practise sorties.

Ask the residents of Eastern and Southern Bangalore, they will say it’s a thunderous start to the day, as aircraft from the near-by HAL airport blaze the skies early in the morning. Tagging the aircraft are HAL built helicopters which for days have been flying low and been pulling some hard G’s.

These metal birds with battle hard men at their controls are making last minute preparations for Aero India – 2017, which is scheduled to begin from February 14th at Yelhanka Air Force Base in Bangalore.

Every morning, India’s aerospace marvel, LCA Tejas takes to the skies with air warriors from the ‘45th squadron’ at its controls. Veteran pilots led by their Commanding Officer, Group Captain Madhav Rangachari, are flying these nimble and agile aircraft to their limits.

Men of the 45th squadron are honing their skills in the run up to Aero India and have been perfecting loops and agile turns. The ‘Flying Daggers’ for the event are pitching in three aircraft, while SP-1 and SP-2 aircraft will be putting up an aerobatic ballet, a Tejas aircraft in its trainer version, will be on static display.

LCA Tejas sizzling the sky; Source – Arnav Pai.

LCA Tejas which was designed and built indigenously is currently the lightest combat aircraft. It was inducted to the ranks of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in July, 2016, after a treacherous yet a thumbing developmental cycle. This will be the debut Aero India appearance for ‘Squadron 45’ with the Tejas since its re-raising last year.

In the prior Aero India editions, Tejas has been the centre of attraction. In the 10th edition of Aero India, PM Narendra Modi had posed for the cameras standing in front of the aircraft.

HAL is also preparing its HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft for Aero India – 2017. The aircraft which was built indigenously by HAL will be making its debut demonstration flight on February 14th in the august presence of PM Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The aircraft which has been developed as a replacement to the now retired ‘HPT – 32 Deepak’ had its maiden flight in May, 2016. The aircraft painted in a ‘red and white’ livery will be performing low and high speed passes during the event.

HTT-40 on its debut flight in Bangalore.
Credits – Manjunath Kiran.

On the rotary front, HAL has prepped up its flagship helicopter – the proven ALH Dhruv. Developed in the late 90’s, Dhruv is one of the most proven and trustworthy products of HAL. Rudra, which is the armed version of Dhruv, will also be showcasing its capabilities at Aero India. Dhruv, in a stellar peacock livery, with the ‘Sarang display team’ of the Indian Air Force, shall be throbbing the excitement of the crowds at the event.

A high note in this year’s Aero India will be the planned performance of Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). HAL, which has designed and built these modular attack helicopters, is planning to fly three of these choppers in a formation during the event. It is expected that TD-1, TD-3 and TD-4 will be flying while TD-2 will be on static display.

The combat helicopter which has successfully attained CEMILAC and Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) certifications is awaiting the FOC by certifying agencies. The chopper last year had successfully completed hot and cold weather starts and had even landed in India’s highest battleground – Siachen. Indian Army’s Aviation Corps is planning to induct at least 114 of these helicopters, while the air force will initially be receiving over 50 LCHs.

These metal birds from the hangars of the HAL which is India’s leading aircraft manufacturer will not enthral the audience, but will stand as a testimony to the efforts of the developmental agencies in developing technologies and thereby supporting India’s mission to attain self reliance.