Indian Defence

HAL Dominates Aero India 2021

Aero India 2021 has started from yesterday i.e. 3rd February. Every defence and aviation enthusiast waits for this exhibition every year. This year’s Aero India is going to be special in many ways. It is the first ever hybrid air show in the world. You can enjoy virtual exhibition from your home.

Defence aerospace sector is growing rapidly in India in recent years. State owned company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is playing a lead role in this. HAL is demonstrating its many platforms in this air show. Also it is presenting its many future programs.

In this article, we will have a look at the exciting display by HAL in Aero India 2021.

Futuristic Technologies In Aero India 2021-

1. Combat Air Teaming System (CATS) Simulator-

CATS is an interesting futuristic technology. This system will consist of a fighter jet accompanied by many armed UAVs. These UAVs will act as wingman to the mother ship. They will accompany the main combat aircraft into the battle. They will protect the aircraft from enemy attack. Thus this system will be crucial in saving the invaluable lives of our brave pilots as well as adding extra muscle to the airpower of IAF.

As per reports, these wingman drones will with LCA Tejas fighter aircraft. But some images are pointing towards possibility of these wingman drones for Rafael. This will be an interesting development to watch.

CATS for Rafale? (Credits: Vayu Aerospace Review)

In current system, mother ship platform was Tejas-max cockpit. It will have a fully integrated and autonomous wingman platform and drone swarms.

2. Wingman Drones-

HAL is working on concept of drone warfare from last 5 years. Warrior drones will act as wingman. These are “low observable” drones. This makes them India’s first semi-stealth drones. These drones will carry both air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. They will take their first flight in next 3 to 5 years.

CATS warrior
CATS warrior (Credits: Vayu Aerospace Review)

Apart from warrior drones, HAL is developing a series of new designs. These include Hunter drone. It will carry Hunter cruise missile, which will have range of more than 200 kms.

Hunter drone
Hunter drone (Credits: Vayu Aerospace Review)

HAL is also working ALFA-S swarm drone system. This system will be based on Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning. It will have carriers mounted on Jaguar aircraft. These carriers can glide upto distance of 100 kms after launching. Then they can release drone swarm to destroy enemy positions or to overwhelm enemy air defence systems.

Important Updates On Ongoing Programs In Aero India 2021-

Apart from demonstration of these crucial future technologies, Aero India has brought us important updates on following ongoing combat aircraft programs.

1. Tejas mk2-

Tejas mk2 at Aero India 2021
Tejas mk2 at Aero India 2021(Credits: Vayu Aerospace Review)

The final design of Tejas mk2 or Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) is out.Model of MWF with its final design configuration is attracting visitors’ attention. The model is also shown with various weapons. We have already covered details of Tejas mk2 in a series of 2 articles.

2. Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF)-

Recently Navy chief had cleared that TEDBF is going to be the future of Naval Aviation. TEDBF model is another attraction of Aero India 2021. Various features of TEDBF can be seen. Foldable wings will help it to accommodate in Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers. It is being designed keeping in mind needs of INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant.

TEDBF at Aero India 2021
TEDBF at Aero India 2021(Credits: Vayu Aerospace Review)

It will be a double engine, multi-role fighter aircraft. TEDBF will be equipped with various weapons. It will have various capabilities like air-to-air fight, air-to-surface attack, offshore attack, anti-ship strike, etc. Additional feature of buddy refueling is also added.

3. Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA)-

The stunning model of AMCA is the showstopper in this Aero India. AMCA model appeared in digital camouflage for the first time.

AMCA at Aero India 2021
AMCA at Aero India 2021(Credits: Vayu Aerospace Review)

It is evident from the models that AMCA will be developed in two phases. AMCA mk1 will have external weapons bay while AMCA mk2 will have advanced features like internal weapons bay. This will further add to its stealth.

Outdoor Display Section Of Aero India 2021-

Outdoor display section is displaying various rotatory wing products of HAL. Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) painted in colours of IAF is like a treat for every aviation enthusiast. Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is a major achievement of HAL demonstrated here. It has recently cleared its tests in high altitude conditions. Advanced Light Helicopter’s (ALH) variant mk-III for Indian coast guard and ALH Mk-IV for IAF will be on display. ALH’s civil variant is also an attraction.

Static display of aircraft will include Dornier-228, HTT-40, etc.

LCH painted with IAF’s grey colour (Credits: Vayu Aerospace Review)

“Aatmanirbhar Formation” By HAL-

HAL is participating in Aero India 2021 with theme “Conceive, Indigenize, Collaborate”. In accordance with Government of India’s spirit of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, HAL will demonstrate its capabilities. This special formation will also be part the flying display. It will include both fixed wing and rotatory wing indigenous aircraft. LCA Trainer, HTT-40, IJT, Advanced Hawk mk132, Dornier-228 will make this Aatmanirbhar formation. This formation will show self sufficiency of India in trainer aircraft section.

Apart from this formation, Su-30 MKI, Rafael, LCA Tejas, ALH Dhruva, LCH, LUH will also show their performance in flying display of Aero India 2021.


Aerospace industry in India is expanding at a much faster pace. Thus is taking break from the past. But still HAL dominates this sector and will continue to do same until sufficient private sector arises.

HAL’s role in achieving self sufficiency in Military Aviation sector is going to be a crucial one. The trailer of its upcoming achievements is demonstrated at Yelahanka. HAL is literally dominating Aero India 2021. Let’s wish HAL all the best for its various programs in this decade.


Prasad Gore

A defence enthusiast. Writing on Defence, Aviation and International Relations. M.A., NET (Defence and strategic studies).

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