Political row-hit Rafale jet was the cynosure of all eyes as the breathtaking display of manoeuvres by military aircraft and the aerobatic team cast a spell at Aero India, Asia’s premier air show here Wednesday.

The city’s skies dazzled with somersaults and stunts by the metal birds, which also paid tributes to the Surya Kiran aircraft pilot killed in a mishap during rehearsal on Tuesday.

The might of the Rafale jet was in full flow as it roared into the skies at the Yelahanka air base, the venue for the event, giving a dazzling display with breathtaking manoeuvres.

The US aerospace giant, Lockheed Martin today unveiled the F-21 multi-role fighter which it said is ideal for India. Specifically configured for the Indian Air Force, the jetfighter provides Make in India opportunities and strengthens India’s path to an advanced airpower future, it said.

According to a company release here, the F-21 addresses the IAF’s unique requirements and integrates India into the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem with the eminent defence company. Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems would produce the F-21 in India, for India, the release added.

“The F-21 is different, inside and out,” Vivek Lall, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, added. The new F-21 designation highlighted the company’s commitment to delivering an advanced, scalable fighter aircraft to the IAF that also provided unrivalled industrial opportunities and accelerated closer India-US cooperation on advanced technologies, he said.

This unprecedented Make in India opportunity combined the strength of the defence contractor with India’s industrial house to deliver a historic win-win for India and the United States, the release noted.

Earlier, Airbus officials told newsmen at the Aero India show that it had opened a world class training centre for commercial pilots and maintenance engineers in the National Capital Region.

This was part of its continuing efforts to support the exponential growth of the civil aviation sector in India. The new training centre, Anand Stanley, president and managing director Airbus India and South Asia, said was a part of the company’s worldwide development plan to address the growing demand for pilots.

Airbus forecast that India would need 25, 000 new pilots over the next 20 years to keep pace with the current double digit growth in its commercial aviation industry, an area where the company could play a leading role.

The training centre incorporates an A-320 flight simulator for full flight simulation, along with programmes on aircraft procedure training, computer based classroom training and standard pilot transition training.

The facility would complement Airbus India’s training centre in Bengaluru which, the company said, had trained over 4500 maintenance engineers since 2007.

Asserting there is ‘no scandal’ in the Rafale deal, Dassault Aviation, makers of the fighter jet, on Wednesday said it was also in the race for 110 aircraft for the Indian Air Force, for which the government had floated an RFI last year. The RFI (Request for Information) or initial tender for the deal was issued by IAF in April 6 2018.