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US and France slug it out at Aero India eyeing orders for INS Vikrant

US aerospace giant Boeing is in an intense competition with French aerospace company Dassault to deck its fighter jets on India's first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant

The world’s leading defence companies have lined up at the 2023 edition of the Aero India air show to showcase their cutting-edge technologies in a bid to further develop their industrial footprint in India.

Over 100 foreign companies, including Dassault Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industry, Airbus, Boeing, SAAB, Safran and Rolls Royce, from more than 80 countries are amongst the major exhibitors at Asia’s largest aero show which kicked off in Bengaluru today.

Dassault Aviation is presenting at Aero India 2023 a model of Rafale C in the colours of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and a model of Rafale Marine which is a candidate for the renewal of the fleet of on-board fighters of the Indian Navy.

The French aerospace company is highlighting its long association with India in the military field as IAF, having been equipped with Dassault aircraft since 1953, is its oldest export customer.

The acquisition contract for 36 Rafale signed in 2016 and the modernization of the Mirage 2000 I/TI has extended the historic partnership.

In the field of business aviation, the Falcon fleet in service in India has around 20 aircraft.

Following the Rafale contract, Dassault Aviation and its partners are contributing to the ‘Make in India’ policy through a vast supply, training and industrial subcontracting network involving dozens of companies, in accordance with their offset obligations.

The Dassault Aviation group is also showcasing at the five-day event a front section of Falcon 2000 produced by the Franco-Indian factory located in Nagpur under the terms of the agreements resulting from the Rafale contract.

Also on show is ultra-long range advanced business jet Falcon 8X having a range of 6,450 nm (12,000 km), which means it is capable of non-stop flights between Beijing and New York, Singapore and London, or Sao Paulo and Moscow.

Dassault believes that the trijet is particularly well-suited to the needs of Indian companies and local operating conditions considering the high temperatures and altitudes.

“Dassault Aviation’s participation in the Aero India show is further testimony to the partnership that has united us with India for 70 years. Providing the best materials to the Indian Forces and companies has always been our ambition and our pride,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

US aerospace giant Boeing, which locked in an intense competition with Dassault to deck its fighter jets on INS Vikrant, is also focusing its presence at Aero India 2023 on investments in growing local services and capabilities, workforce development and partnerships in support India’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision.

Boeing’s exhibit at USA Pavilion is built around the theme of ‘The Runway to a Billion Opportunities’ highlighting local partnerships and investments in India.

The exhibit also features a range of advanced products including the F/A-18 Super Hornet, P-8I, CH-47 Chinook, 737, 787 Dreamliner and 777X.

Visitors will be able to experience the AH-64 Apache simulator and learn more the combat helicopter’s capabilities and a wide range of missions.

The joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) recently delivered the first fuselage for six AH-64 Apache attack helicopters ordered by the Indian Army from its state-of-the-art facility in Hyderabad.

TBAL has produced and supplied Boeing’s Apache final assembly plant in Mesa, Arizona with over 190 fuselages.

India presently operates 11 C-17s, 22 AH-64 Apaches (with six more on order), 15 CH-47 Chinooks, 12 P-8Is, three VVIP aircraft, and two Head of State aircraft. In addition, more than 150 Boeing airplanes, including the Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX, 757, 777, and 787 Dreamliner, are operated by India’s leading commercial airlines.

“The Indian aerospace and defence industry is poised for growth and offers significant opportunities for Boeing with our proven portfolio of products and services. Boeing is committed to supporting and enabling this progress with a vision to bring the best of Boeing to India and take the best of India to the world,” says Salil Gupte, President, Boeing India.

Also Read: Aero-India is not just an exhibition but symbol of soaring rise of New India — PM Modi