Bangalore Gears For South Asia'S Biggest Air Show
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Bangalore gears for South Asia's biggest air show

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Sales Executive

South Asia's biggest air show opened here on Wednesday with firms from 25 countries showcasing their latest hardware in a chase for multi-billion dollar contracts with the Indian military.

Despite the global economic downturn, nearly 600 armament and aerospace companies half of them from overseas -- are taking part in this year's Aero India event in Bangalore.

Even with India's economy showing signs of a deepening slowdown, its million-plus military says it cannot cut defence spending and plans to hand out contracts worth 30 billion dollars in the next three to four years.

India has already imported military hardware worth 28 billion dollars since 2000. Among the prime pickings is a 12-billion dollar deal for 126 fighter jets. Six major aeronautical firms competing for the contract are participating in the air show.

Leading the pack of 303 international companies at the event are Germany and France with 31 firms each. 26 British, 24 Russian and 22 US firms are also present, along with 289 Indian defence companies.

Besides the 126 fighter jets, transport aircraft and airborne early warning systems, the Indian military also plans to buy 700 helicopters worth 3.5 billion dollars and an array of air defense systems.