More than 600 defense and civil aircraft makers from across the globe are expected to display their products at the ninth edition of Aero India, which begins Feb. 6 in Bengaluru in southern India.

“The five-day biennial air show provides an ideal window of opportunity to companies to not only network with Indian industries but also benefit from the sharing of expertise in research and development and product support with other global players,” says Indian Defense Production Secretary R.K. Mathur.

The largest overseas participation will be by U.S. firms, occupying 1,185 sq. meters of floor space, followed by companies from Israel and Russia. Other major participants include companies from France, the U.K., Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Ukraine, Australia, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, UAE and Singapore, Mathur says. Afghanistan companies will be participating for the first time. Organizers are awaiting confirmation from Chinese companies of their participation.

Several combat aircraft are not participating in the show, since India has already chosen the French Rafale for its multibillion-dollar deal to supply 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) to the Indian air force.

Defense ministry officials say only 52 aircraft are participating this year, while 63 aircraft took part in 2011.

The U.S. F/A-18 and F-16, Russian MiG-35, Swedish Saab Gripen, French Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon were regulars at the last three editions of the show, while MMRCA was still in competition.

The number of companies that have booked space for the 2013 show is only 607, while 675 took part in the last show.

Mathur, however, says, “I hope it will be a bigger show compared to earlier editions. We are getting support from various stakeholders. I hope it will turn out to be a very good show.”

Business conducted at the show has led to 190 billion rupees in offsets in the country and business opportunities worth 140 billion rupees ($3.5 billion) have already been generated for the private sector, he points out.

According to Indian defense procurement rules, any foreign vendor receiving a defense deal worth more than 3 billion rupees ($53 million) needs to reinvest 30% of the value into the country’s industry.

The show will be inaugurated by Defense Minister A.K. Antony at the Yelahanka Air Force station.

Rafale photo: Dassault