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F-16s, F-18s touch down at Yelahanka aero india-2009

Anil Kumar Sastry

Olympic Gold Medal winner Abhinav Bindra to fly an F-16 on February 12

— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

MEAN MACHINES: DC-10, F-18 and F-16 aircraft that arrived for Aero India 2009 at Yelahanka in Bangalore on Friday.

BANGALORE: The sleek metal birds thundered over the Aero India 2009 venue at the Yelahanka Air Force Station on Friday. They were the iconic F-16 and F-18 no less.

Even as F-16 touched down here, it was announced in Delhi that ace shooter and country’s first individual Olympic Gold Medal winner Abhinav Bindra will fly aboard the F-16IN on February 12 at the show here.

Mr. Bindra will be flown by a highly experienced test pilot with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, F16’s manufacturer. The flight will last approximately 45 minutes. He will undergo the mandatory medical fitness test before takeoff and will get a ground briefing before going on the sortie in the aircraft.

F-16IN, designated the Super Viper, comes from a leading aerospace manufacturer, Lockheed Martin and is said to be above all other fighter planes across the world. It is slated to be the world’s most capable multi-role fighter with unsurpassed performance and reliability reaffirming the high quality of the aircraft.

The F-16 is the largest western jet fighter programme with over 4,400 aircraft built since production was approved in 1976.

In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta

Big presence

The U.S. will have an extensive presence at the Aero India.

The U.S. contingent will include aircraft like F-16 fighting falcon, F-18 Hornet, C-17 Globemaster III, C-130J Hercules and KC-135 Stratotanker.

The aircraft will give numerous flight demonstrations. U.S. Ambassador David C. Mulford and top military officials will be attending the event.

“The U.S. participation will highlight its desire for increased defence cooperation with India and the importance it places on international defence cooperation in general,” said a press release from the office of U.S. Consulate General.

Tejas fly-past

Five Tejas Aircraft (Light Combat Aircraft) led by Air Cmde Rohit Varma, Project Director (Flight Test), National Flight Test Centre – Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) carried out a fly-past at HAL airport on Friday as a prelude towards the Aero India inauguration.

The mission combined flight test profiles for the individual Tejas aircraft with a coordinated rehearsal for the Aero India fly-past.

Programme Director and ADA director P.S. Subramaniam, in a press release, said the thrust towards improving reliability of the Tejas prototypes was a milestone towards achievement of Initial Operating Clearance for the IAF within the desired timeframe.

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