This week’s Singapore Airshow brought only one significant new launch, when Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) unveiled the Super Heron UAV. But as usual, there were plenty of defense requirements to discuss. These included Singapore’s desire to upgrade its F-16 fighters, and maritime surveillance requirements around the region.
News and issues relating to the defense aerospace business, with emphasis on current/in-use, in-development and prospective programs for manned military aircraft, unmanned combat aircraft vehicles (UCAVs), military aircraft engines, avionics, missiles, bombs, guidance systems and ground-based air-defense systems.
The paint shop by Hawker Pacific at Singapore Seletar Airport has seen brisk business in its first year of operation, and the company is anticipating demand continuing to grow during the this year. Built inside an aircraft hangar with a floor area of nearly 11,000 sq ft, the facility is the only paint shop in the region dedicated to business aircraft. It can handle the larger business jets such as Bombardier Global Express, Dassault Falcon 7X and Gulfstream G550. Among the tasks already undertaken are OEM warranty repairs, livery changes and full resprays.
Austrian remote-sensing specialist Airborne Technologies has unveiled its latest product at the Singapore Airshow. Known as the S.C.A.R.(self-contained aerial reconnaissance)-Pod, the system requires no aircraft system modification, and only needs a standard hardpoint to be ready for immediate use.
From The Black Knights of Singapore to the Black Eagles of Korea, another fast jet aerobatic team performing here. But although show-goers will inevitably compare the two, Black Eagles team manager Lt. Col. Park San Hyoun says that for a true comparison to be made, “We would both have to be flying the same aircraft.” Instead of competing, he says, “we’re here to enjoy and give pleasure to the crowd.”
Saab (Booth C11) has many years of experience devising protection systems for combat aircraft, and here at Singapore 2014 it is showing its latest offering, the ESTL. Formerly known as BOH, it is a modular system that draws on several of the company’s successful missile warning and countermeasures systems to create a cost-efficient means of protecting combat aircraft against current and predicted infrared and radar-guided missile threats.
A team from UTC Aerospace Systems (Chalet CD07) is here promoting the DB-110 dual-band airborne reconnaissance sensor, and talking of a multispectral upgrade to come. The podded sensor flies on the F-16s of nine air forces, on the new Saudi air force F-15s, and on Japan’s P-3s. It first entered service on the Tornado strike aircraft of the UK Royal Air Force, where it is named the Raptor system.
Rising military tension in north Asia sparked by China’s escalating defense spending and erratic posturing by North Korea is driving growth in Honeywell’s defense business. The need to maintain operational availability for the large installed base of U.S.-made aircraft operated by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan is spurring strong demand for spares and product support, according to Mark Burgess, senior director with Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific (Booth 23, Chalet CS42).
The war of words between the system integrators and radar houses that are chasing the F-16 upgrade market intensified here this week. With 3,500 Fighting Falcons still flying, at least one-third of which might be upgraded, the stakes are high. Here in Singapore, BAE Systems Inc. and Raytheon are hoping that the local Ministry of Defence will entertain their rival proposals for a contract that could be worth almost $2.5 billion, and consider them above the solution offered by Lockheed Martin (LM) and Northrop Grumman (NG).
Raytheon has warned against overreliance on stealthy platforms alone in future air combat. Despite their low radar cross-sections (RCS), fifth-generation fighters such as the F-35 can be detected by modern air defense systems. To defeat these defenses, air forces should take full advantage of the latest sensors and weapons that can be carried on less stealthy aircraft, the company said.
Russia’s Irkut Corp. is well known in the Asia Pacific region because of the mighty vectored-thrust Sukhoi Su-30 series multirole fighters in service with Indian and Malaysian air forces, numbering about 200 aircraft. The maker also supplied Su-27UB operational trainers to China; and a number of Asian nations still operate swing-wing MiG-23U trainers and MiG-27 strike aircraft built at the corporation’s manufacturing site in Irkutsk city, western Siberia.