The inaugural ceremony of “Bharat Drone Shakti 2023,” a unique drone exhibition and display, took place on September 25, 2023, at Air Force Station, Hindan in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. The event was inaugurated by Raksha Mantri (Defense Minister) Shri Rajnath Singh and is a collaborative effort between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Drone Federation of India (DFI). This two-day event, occurring on September 25th and 26th, 2023, showcases the contributions of more than 75 drone start-ups from various parts of the country.
The drones exhibited at this event have diverse applications, both in the military and civil sectors. Through aerial and static demonstrations, the IAF and DFI aim to highlight their capabilities and support the government’s initiative to establish India as a prominent drone hub by 2030.
Following the inauguration of Bharat Drone Shakti 2023, there was an official induction ceremony for the first C-295 MW transport aircraft into the IAF. The ceremony included a ‘Sarv Dharm Puja’ (a multi-faith prayer) and a presentation on the aircraft’s capabilities. This medium lift tactical aircraft is capable of operating from unprepared landing grounds and will replace the HS-748 Avro aircraft.
In a post on a social media platform (referred to as X, formerly Twitter), Raksha Mantri expressed confidence that the inclusion of the C-295 would enhance the IAF’s medium lift tactical capabilities. He emphasized the significance of the defense and aerospace sectors as key pillars for India’s self-reliance in the future.
Out of the 56 contracted aircraft, the first 16 will be delivered to the IAF in a ‘fly-away’ condition, while the remaining 40 will be manufactured in India by Tata Advanced Systems Limited at their facility in Vadodara. The first IAF squadron to receive these aircraft, known as the 11 Squadron (The Rhinos), is also based in Vadodara.
During the event, the Raksha Mantri and other dignitaries were briefed on the latest in-house innovations of the IAF. The exhibition featured projects like a Hybrid Drone Detection System, Artificial Intelligence Engine for fault diagnosis, a Fly-By-Wire Tester, Stabilized Power Supply Trolleys, a QR Code-based Tool Crib management system, and modern teaching aids.
The event was attended by Minister of State for Civil Aviation and Road, Transport & Highways General (Dr) VK Singh (Retd), Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, senior officers from all three services, Defense Attaches and officials from friendly foreign countries, as well as representatives from the Indian industry.