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Tiger Moth planes in New Zealand, Dec. 27, 2007.

A World War II aircraft will take to the skies above Bangalore alongside one of the biggest aircraft in the world at India’s biennial aerospace, defense and civil aviation exhibitions, which begins Wednesday.

It will be the first time a vintage Tiger Moth has appeared in the near two-decade history of the Aero India show, which this year runs to Sunday. The aircraft will be joined by a Boeing Co. BA +0.01% C-17 Globemaster airlifter for a flyby aiming to demonstrate the growth of the Indian Air Force since the 1940s.

India’s Defense Ministry says the flight will “showcase the spectrum of technological advancement between the ‘moth’ and the ‘master.’”

India ordered 10 C-17 Globemasters from Boeing in 2011, making it the largest buyer of the aircraft outside the U.S. India will receive five of the airlifters this year and the rest in 2014 in an order valued at about $4.1 billion. Boeing has delivered 250 C-17 airlifters worldwide, including 218 to the U.S. armed forces.

The Tiger Moth and C-17 Globemaster flight will take place at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, the venue for Aero India since its launch in 1996.

The Tiger Moth is a two-seat, single bay biplane powered by a 145 horse power, four-cylinder inverted air-cooled engine manufactured by the erstwhile de Havilland Engine Co. of the U.K. The Tiger Moth has no electric system and has to be started manually. It was the primary trainer aircraft for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. It was also the basic trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force from 1940 until it was replaced by the HT-2 trainer designed by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

The Globemaster is an altogether different beast, capable of carrying a payload of up to 77.5 tons, including combat vehicles, artillery guns and battle-ready troops.

Organizers say more than 700 companies are expected to have a presence at this year’s Aero India, with those from the U.S. leading the list, followed by Israel and Russia. There will be delegations from 78 countries, up from 45 at the previous show in 2011.

Overseas companies are looking to capitalize on India’s plans to spend billions of dollars to upgrade its Soviet-vintage defense equipment. New Delhi has budgeted about 1.93 trillion rupees ($36 billion) for defense spending in the financial year through March 2013, a 13% increase from last year.