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Aero India 2023 (14th Edition) Held in Bengaluru, Karnataka  – Feb 13- 17, 2023

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14th Aero India 2023 Feb 13, 2023The 14th edition of Asia’s biggest aero show,“Aero India 2023,” a biennial event highlighting India’s indigenous defence capabilities, was launched by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, who also released a commemorative stamp on the occasion.

  • The five-day event took place at Air Force Station Yehlanka in Bengaluru, Karnataka, from February 13 – 17, 2023.
  • The theme of the event was “The runway to a billion opportunities.”

The event was organized by the Department of Defence Production of the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Bengaluru.


  • The two primary defence-related events organised by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in India are Aero India and Defence Expo (DefExpo).
  • The Defence Expo 2022, India’s flagship military trade event for land, naval, and homeland security systems, was held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, in October 2022.

Aero India 2023 (14th Edition)

The major exhibitors of Aero India 2023 include Airbus, Boeing, Dassault Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industry, BrahMos Aerospace, Army Aviation, HC Robotics, SAAB (Swedish aerospace and defence company), Safran, Rolls Royce, Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and BEML Limited.

  • Aim: To encourage the export of indigenous aircraft such the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas, HTT-40 (Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40), Dornier Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
  • PM stated the objective to increase the defence exports from 1.5 billion to 5 billion by 2024-25

The event included a Defence Ministers’ Conclave, a CEO Round Table, the Manthan start-up event, the Bandhan ceremony, breathtaking air shows, a large exhibition, the India Pavilion, and an aerospace trade fair.

  • The event, the largest ever held, gathered participants from 98 countries.
  • The event was attended by 73 CEOs of Global and Indian original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), 32 Defence Ministers from different nations, and 29 Air Chiefs.
  • The ‘CEOs Round Table’, on 13th February on the theme ‘Sky is not the limit: opportunities beyond boundaries’.
  • The ‘India Pavilion’, based on the theme ‘Fixed Wing Platform’, showcased India’s growth in the area.
  • The annual defence innovation event, Manthan, held on 15th February 2023, was organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX).

Rajnath Singh launches 9th Defence India Start-up Challenge on ‘Cybersecurity’

Union Minister Rajnath Singh, MoD, launched the 9th edition of the Defence India Startup Challenges (DISC 9) on “Cybersecurity” at the “Startup Manthan” at Aero India 2023.

  • DISC 9 is the first collaboration between Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) and the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (i4C), a division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The “iDEX Investment Hub” (iIH) and 28 problem statements were launched with DISC 9.

  • The iIH intends to boost defence investment by providing investors with a holistic view of possibilities and innovations.

The event also marked the 4th edition of the Innovate4Defence internship (i4D), which invited applications from students across India.

Key Points:

i.Prominent Indian investors have already pledged more than Rs. 200 crores through iIH.

ii.The iDEX initiative was launched by the MoD’s Defence Innovation Organization (DIO).

iii.The iDEX platform received the PM Award in the Innovation category in recognition of its contribution.

MoUs signed by DIO with key investors at “Startup Manthan”

i.DIO signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with investors including ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre), and ISpA  (Indian Space Association) in order to further enhance the defence sector.

ii.In order to potentially launch start-up challenges in the future, another MoU was inked with the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

iii.Another MoU was inked with Axis Bank.

iv.In addition, iDEX-DIO inked its 200th contract with the winner of the Indian Navy Prime challenge, which was launched as part of the SPRINT initiative.

US Air Force’s F-35 Jets Make Historic Debut at Aero India 2023

The latest fifth-generation fighters from the United States Air Force (USAF), the multirole F-35A Lightning II and F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, made their debut at Aero India 2023.

  • The F-35A Lightning II and F-35A Joint Strike Fighter stealth planes travelled extensively from Hill Air Force Base in Utah (US) and Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska (US), respectively.

Key Points:

i.India intends to create its own fifth-generation fighter, the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), with design, development, and prototypes at a cost of around Rs. 15,000 crore.

ii.The Indian Air Force (IAF) modernization plan anticipates the deployment of six squadrons of about 120 stealth fighters from 2032.

U.S. Air Force’s ‘Bone’ lands at Aero India 2023       

The United States Air Force (USAF) increased its Aero India 2023 lineup with the deployment of two B-1B Lancers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, US.

B-1B Lancers

  • The B-1B Lancer is a supersonic heavy bomber that can conduct operations both from forward-deployed locations and from its bases in the US.
  • It is regarded as the core of the USAF’s long-range bomber force and carries the greatest conventional payload of guided and unguided weapons.

Indo-US Air-Launched Unmanned UAV likely to be flight tested later in 2023

The Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (ALUAV), which India and the US jointly developed, is scheduled to undergo flight testing later in September–November 2023.

  • The ALUAV is being designed to be launched from an aircraft, notably the C130J.
  • Flight tests will take place at a range in northern India as well as in the United States (US).

Key Points:

i.Under the Joint Working Group Air Systems of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the U.S. Department of Defense inked a project agreement for the ALUAV in 2021.

ii.The major organisations responsible for carrying out the project agreement are the IAF & USAF, the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) in Bengaluru, and the Aerospace Systems Directorate of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

LCA-Mk2 Production by 2027, 10 Years for Development of 5th Gen Fighter AMCA

At Aero India 2023, it was revealed that the more powerful indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk2 is anticipated to be ready for production by 2027.

  • The Cabinet Committee on Security is yet to approve the fifth generation of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), and development will take 10 years after that.
  • The project cost was estimated to be around Rs 15,000 crore.

The AMCA is envisioned as a 25-ton twin-engine stealth aircraft with an internal weapons bay and a Diverterless Supersonic Intake designed for the first time in India.

Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF)

The Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF), a comparably ambitious project that would operate from Navy aircraft carriers, was scheduled to have its first flight in 2026 and be ready for production by 2031.

  • The TEDBF is envisioned as a twin-engine medium-weight fighter with folding wings and a total weight of 26 metric tonnes.

Bandhan ceremony witnesses forging of 266 partnerships; major defence agreements signed  

The Bandhan event, conducted as part of the Aero India 2023 Show in Bengaluru, resulted in the formation of 266 partnerships worth over Rs. 80,000 crore, including 201 MoUs, 53 key announcements, 9 product launches, and 3 technology transfer agreements (ToTs).

List of Major Defence Agreements Signed  

i.Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran Helicopter Engines of France inked an MoU to form a joint venture to design, develop, and manufacture helicopter engines.

ii.An MoU was inked by Bharat Electronics Limited and the Aeronautical Development Agency to collaborate on cutting-edge medium combat aircraft.

iii.Further MoUs have been made with foreign companies to develop drones that can deliver supplies to the Indian army stationed in challenging terrain near the borders.

iv.An MoU was also signed for the co-development of engines, missiles, rockets, autonomous weaponized boat swarms, and passenger aircraft.

HAL Seals Contract with Argentinian Air Force for Supply of Helicopter Spares

The Argentine Air Force (AAF) has inked a deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), India’s leading public-sector aerospace and defence firm, for the supply of spares and engine repair of legacy two-ton class helicopters.

  • Argentina has already shown interest in buying a batch of LCA Tejas from India.

The deal was signed at Aero India 2023 by Brigadier General Xavier Issac, Chief of the AAF, and C.B. Ananthakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of HAL.

HAL to Provide MRO for MQ-9B Drone Engines in India

HAL and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), the manufacturer of the MQ-9B drones, announced their collaboration on MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) services for the drones on the sidelines of Aero India 2023.

  • HAL will provide MRO services for MQ-9B drone operations in India.

In order to upgrade its surveillance capabilities along its border with China as well as in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), India has been in active discussions with the US to purchase 30 MQ-9B armed drones for more than USD 3 billion.

HAL & Safran sign workshare deal to develop engine of Indian MultiRole Helicopter

Safran Helicopter Engines and HAL have signed a workshare agreement for the joint development of the engine for the future 13-ton IMRH (Indian Multi-Role Helicopter) and its naval variant, the DBMRH (Deck-Based Multi-Role Helicopter).

  • Both parties also agreed on a condition for HAL to transfer rights to manufacture seven critical forging and casting raw parts for the further increase of indigenous content in the Shakti engine of the Dhruv and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) programmes.

This workshare agreement was signed in the presence of C. B. Ananthakrishnan, CMD, HAL, and Franck Saudo, CEO, Safran Helicopter Engines, by Florent Chauvancy, EVP Sales and Marketing, and K. Ramesh, General Manager, HAL Aero Engine Research and Design Centre.


  • This agreement follows the July 2022 MoU and outlines the sharing of activities within the joint venture where both parties have agreed on an equal repartition.
  • HAL will work specifically on the design, development, and production of a few key engine parts.

Response Plus Holding PJSC signs MoU with HAL during Aero India 2023

Response Plus Holding PJSC (RPM), a prominent healthcare provider in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of emergency medical services, remote healthcare services, and occupational health solutions, has signed an MoU with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).

  • The signing ceremony took place during Aero India 2023.

In accordance with the terms of the agreement, RPM and HAL will work together to explore different opportunities for collaboration in India, the Gulf region, and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region in the areas of Emergency Medical Services, Medical Evacuation, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), and other mutually beneficial fields.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)

HAL, founded in 1940, is a prominent aerospace company under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Government of India (GoI, with headquarters in Bangalore, Karnataka.

 BEML signs agreement with Bharat Electronics for missile development

At Aero India 2023, an MoU was signed between Bharat Electronics, a defence and aerospace company, and BEML Limited (formerly Bharat Earth Movers Limited), a state-owned heavy equipment manufacturer.

  • The MoU addresses the combined development and production of missile modules, airframes, and other mechanical systems for upcoming missile programmes.
  • In total, BEML inked 11 agreements at the Aero India 2023 event.

BEML has also signed MoUs with the following organizations: Indian Navy; R&DEE, a DRDO organisation for Transfer of Technology (TOT) for the development and production of demining equipment (TRAWL & TWMP) to be used on T72/T90 main battle tanks; CDSpace Robotics Pvt Ltd, a start-up under incubation of IIT-Kanpur; Maini Precision Products; Valdel Advance Technologies Limited; Pushpak Aerospace and Defence; Aerospace Engineers Pvt Ltd; Garuda Aerospace; Rangsons aerospace; Hexagon Technologies.

Rangsons Aerospace signs MoU with German Firm HENSOLDT at Aero India 2023

Rangsons Aerospace, India’s premier aerospace product technology company, and HENSOLDT -The Sensor Solution House, based in Germany, have signed MoU to jointly explore new business opportunities and promote newer technological advancements.

  • The MoU aims to establish an indigenous datalink system that can operate across various aerial platforms, boosting the Indian Armed Forces’ network-centric warfare capability.

The MoU was signed by Jonathan Field, VP of International Business Development at HENSOLDT, and Pavan Ranga, MD of Rangsons Aerospace.

Note – Rangsons was the first company to manufacture Airborne Compact Heat Exchanger or the world’s smallest SOTM (Satcom On The Move) terminal, catering to India’s defence needs

Garuda Aerospace Announces Tie-Up with Narayana Health at Aero India 2023

On the fringes of Aero India 2023, Garuda Aerospace collaborated with Narayana Health to transport biomedical samples using “Sanjeevani” drones.

  • This will allow for the delivery of crucial and emergency medical supplies, including diagnostic samples, at times of high traffic and other challenging conditions.

Aster DM Healthcare partnered with Skye Air Mobility in May 2022 to use drones to transport diagnostic samples and medicines in Bengaluru.


  • Dr. Devi Shetty is the founder of Narayana Health.

Garuda Aerospace

i.Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Garuda Aerospace has been a drone partner of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). It operates in 84 cities with 400 drones and more than 500 pilots.

ii.Mahendra Singh Dhoni, a former captain of the Indian cricket team, recently introduced a camera drone named “Droni” at the Global Drone Expo in Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and was designated the Garuda’s brand ambassador.

iii.Agnishwar Jayaprakash is the founder of Garuda Aerospace.

BEL & GSL ink pact to address global market opportunities in Naval platforms

Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), a Navratna Defense PSU (Public Sector Undertaking), has inked an MoU with Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) to engage in addressing global market prospects for the delivery of cutting-edge products such as autonomous boats and other artificial intelligence (AI)-based systems or solutions for naval platforms.

  • The agreement was signed on the sidelines of Aero India 2023 by BEL CMD Bhanu Prakash Srivastava and GSL CMD Brajesh Kumar Upadhyay.

GE Marine & HAL sign MOU to explore expanding marine gas turbine manufacturing

GE Marine and HAL have inked an MoU to enhance HAL’s production capabilities to include Assembly, Inspection, And Testing (AIT) of the LM500 marine gas turbine.

  • HAL’s IMGT Division has provided the AIT for GE’s LM2500 marine gas turbine, which is installed aboard the Indian Navy’s P-17, P-17A, and IAC-1 boats since 1986.
  • So far, HAL has delivered 22 LM2500 gas turbines to 11 Indian naval vessels.

Rolls-Royce Announces Order of Trent XWB-97 Engines from Air India

Rolls-Royce, a British aircraft engine manufacturer, has secured an order from Air India for 68 Trent XWB-97 engines, with an option for yet another 20.

  • Air India has also ordered 12 Trent XWB-84 engines, which are the only engine options for the Airbus A350-900.
  • This is the largest order ever placed for the Trent XWB-97, which exclusively powers the Airbus A350-1000.

For the first time ever, an Indian airline has placed a Trent XWB order, and as a result of this agreement, Air India will become the largest Trent XWB-97 operator in the world.

  • Air India has ordered 250 Airbus passenger aircraft, including 40 A350s and 210 A320/321s.

BEL to Manufacture Israel’s LORA Ballistic Missile for Indian Tri-Services

Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), a defence PSU, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have signed a MoU to domestically manufacture and supply IAI’s LORA Weapon System for the Indian Tri-Services.

  • Based on a workshare agreement with IAI, BEL will manufacture the cutting-edge strategic weapon system as the prime contractor.

LORA Weapon System

i.It is developed by the MALAM division of IAI.

ii.LORA is a sea-to-ground and ground-to-ground system that includes a long-range ballistic missile, a one-of-a-kind launcher, a command and control system, and ground and marine support.

iii.The LORA system has ballistic assault capabilities with a precision level of 10 metres CEP (circular error probable) for a variety of ranges.

Bharat Forge, HAL ink pact for production of aerospace grade steel alloys

On the eve of Aero India 2023, the Foundry & Forge (F&F) Division of HAL, Saarloha Advanced Materials Pvt Ltd (Saarloha), and Bharat Forge Ltd (BFL) inked an MoU to cooperate on the development and manufacture of aerospace-grade steel alloys.

  • The MoU was signed by M S Venkatesh, executive director of HAL’s foundry & forge division; Guru Biswal, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bharat Forge’s aerospace division; and R K Goyal, director, Saarloha.

Thales & BDL Join Hands to Produce 70mm Laser-Guided Rockets in India

Thales and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), a Government of India (GoI) firm, have signed an MoU to establish manufacturing facilities in India for precision-strike 70mm laser-guided rockets (FZ275 LGR).

  • BDL will join the global FZ275 LGR supply chain as a result of the agreement.
  • BDL was founded in 1970 in Hyderabad as a production facility for guided missiles and allied defence equipment.
  • Thales is the original equipment manufacturer of the FZ275 LGR, the market’s lightest, shortest, and most versatile 70mm laser-guided rocket.

It can be used in both day and night operations at ranges ranging from 1.5 m to 7 km (on a helicopter).

Airbus signs MoU with IISc to expand aerospace education, research

In order to increase access to aerospace education and research in India, Airbus has partnered with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru on the sidelines of Aero India 2023.

  • Airbus and IISc will collaborate to develop curriculum, training modules, and encourage research and innovation on aerospace-related themes such as sustainability, engineering, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data.

IAF develops ‘Vayulink’ platform for steady jammer-proof communication

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has introduced “Vayulink,” an innovative technology designed to assist pilots in dealing with severe weather by offering jammer-proof, uninterrupted contact with the base station.

  • “Vayulink” is a data-link communication that sends radio communications to the base station when the signals are weak using the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), also known as NAVIC.

BEL, IISc ink pact to work together in AI, ML and emerging technologies

Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), a Navratna Defence PSU, has signed an MoU with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, to collaborate on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other new technologies.

  • The MoU, signed on the margins of the Aero India 2023, intends to leverage the complementary strengths and skills of BEL and IISc, Bengaluru.

The partnership will allow BEL and IISc to develop a range of products and services using embedded and integrated AI.