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US F-15E to take part in Aero India
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13
The USA F-15E(Strike Eagle) fighter aircraft will be taking part in the fifth edition of India’s premier aviation event Aero India 2005 which will get under way in Bangalore from February 9.

The five-day event at the Yelahanka air base would also see other countries like Russia, France and Sweden unveiling their fighter aircraft to impress the top brass of the IAF, which has put forward its demand for a minimum of 125 fighter aircraft for its immediate need.

Although earlier there were reports that the USA might send its F-16 fighter aircraft which have also been sold to Pakistan, these were later denied, causing disappointment among organisers of the show.

The F-16s were touted as the star attraction of the event, which is the biggest-ever show put up by India in the recent years with as many as 350 companies participating from both within the country and abroad.

Sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said here that the USA was likely to send at least two of the F-15E fighter aircraft. The multi-role, all weather, two-seater aircraft is expected to participate in the air shows.

The participation of the F-15Es would give the IAF pilots a chance to match the skills of their MiGs and the Sukhois with the US fighter aircraft.

Also pitching in for the cake would be Gripen from Sweden, Dassault Aviation from France and MiG RAC from Russia. The sources said that while Dassault would be showcasing the Falcon-2000 aircraft, Russia would be sending its MiG-29 M-2 fighter aircraft.

The newly appointed Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi in his first interaction with the media last week had said that the IAF was looking for at least 125 fighter aircraft. He had specified that although none of the aircraft had been shortlisted but India was looking for a multi-role fighter aircraft.

Incidentally, the participation from the USA this time round at Aero India would be largest ever.

The live and static displays of US military aircraft will also include the C-130J Hercules carrier aircraft and the maritime P-3C Orion, both from the stables of Lockheed Martin, the makers of the F-16.

The USA will also be sending its Stratotanker, the KC-135 aerial refueling and airlift aircraft for the air show.

Among the other aircraft which would be on display at Aero India, would be the Hawk JH 100 from BAe System(UK), UAVs from Aeronautic Defence System(Israel), and IL-76 TD and AN 12 from Russia and IL-114 from Ukraine. The total number of aircraft, which would be on display, would be over 95, a substantial increase over the 65 which were on display in the last edition of the show.

Meanwhile, Sqdn Ldr R.K. Dhingra, the Joint Director of the Defence Exhibition Organisation which is the main coordinating agency for Aero India, said here that the overall show had grown by almost 30 per cent over the last show and most importantly the participation of the Indian companies had almost doubled.

From just about 74 companies in the fourth edition, the number had risen to over 170, he said.

The number of participating countries had also increased from 23 to 27 and more than 200 foreign companies would be displaying their products.

Incidentally, the capital outlay for Aero India 2005 has been pegged at Rs 40 crore, which is a ten-fold increase over the capital outlay of the Aero India 2003.

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