Analysts say this comes as India looks towards modernising its aircraft fleet and boosting its defence. The country has raised its estimated military budget by four per cent to about US$32.4 billion for the year ending this March. India's Air Force was the biggest military spender at Singapore's Air Show last year. It ordered 750 surface-to-air missiles from Bharat Electronics at an estimated cost of US$860 million. Analysts say India's big push to buy military hardware is partly in response to China, which just last week announced the debut flight of its J20 stealth fighter jet. And companies like Lockheed Martin or Boeing, which gets half of its revenue from the military segment, is locked-on to the country's potential. Flightglobal Group Asia managing editor Siva Govindasamy said: "The biggest competition for fighter jets right now is in India. "It's a 10 to 12 billion dollar competition for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft. "And India is also buying a whole slew of other aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, cargo aircraft, trainers, you name it and India wants it. "So India is right now developing into the most lucrative market for military equipment in Asia". India is also hosting its air show, Aero India, next month in Bangalore . "And every single major aerospace company from around the world will be there, pushing its wares because they know that India has the money to buy and wants to modernise its military," Mr Siva said. Outside Asia, companies like Eurocopter said it will not overlook the US although it plans to cut its military budget by US$78 over the next five years. Eurocopter president & CEO Lutz Bertling said: "We actually see strong potential for helicopters in the military in the US even in the future. "If you look at the overall development of the missions that military all over the world have to perform, helicopters are playing a more and more important role. "So although the overall defence budget seems to be a bit capped in the future, we expect that the helicopter fleet will still be very significant business, and we are aiming to be a big part of it". Mr Siva said: "There's a direct correlation between the increased activities of western companies in the Asian military market (and) the US budget cuts. Because these companies, if they want to survive, if they want to find new businesses, if they want to sell their aircraft, they have to find a place and Asia is the logical location". Across Asia, analysts expect slightly more than 10 per cent growth in military spending for 2011, which is similar to last year's growth rate.
India lucrative military aircraft market: analysts