The first M-346 advanced trainer for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is on schedule to be delivered by the end of the year, according to manufacturer Alenia Aermacchi (Booth J39), which is currently producing the first batch.
Republic of Singapore Air Force
Among the debutantes here at the 2012 Singapore Airshow is the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s latest UAV, the Heron 1 from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Singapore’s armed forces have acquired a number of Heron 1s under their “third-generation transformation” program, and they are replacing IAI Searchers with the UAV Command. Deliveries began last year. The UAVs are equipped with IAI’s TAMAM MOSP (multi-mission optronic stabilized payload) and offer a significant improvement in sensor capability, endurance and autonomous operation.
Conversion of the old Seletar airfield (situated on the north of the island, about 25 minutes drive from Changi) into a modern aerospace complex continues here in Singapore. Phase two of the government-sponsored redevelopment is nearly finished, and four companies that have moved into new facilities are showing them off to airshow visitors and local guests this week.
The U.S. strategic tilt toward the Asia Pacific region plays to Raytheon Co.’s strength in active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a key technology being used and sought by countries in the region to enhance the capabilities of their legacy fourth-generation fighters.
Saudi Arabia signed a $29.5 billion letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for 84 new and 70 upgraded F-15 Strike Eagles last week. The deal, which took 18 months to conclude, is by far the biggest foreign military sale in U.S. history.
Citing “industry experts,” the State Department claimed that the agreement would support more than 50,000 jobs at 600 suppliers in 44 states. U.S. government officials said it would help ensure secure and stability in the Gulf region.
European manufacturers of major defense equipment face a struggle to secure new contracts in the Middle East against American competition, as evidenced by the latest Saudi arms deal. The huge F-15 deal probably ends Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) interest in a second batch of Eurofighters.
Singapore last week confirmed its choice of the Alenia Aermacchi M346 advanced jet trainer to replace the aging TA-4S Skyhawks its air force operates. Deliveries will begin in 2012. Prime contractor ST Aerospace will manage the $412 million deal to supply 12 aircraft plus spares, and a ground-based training system (GBTS).
The crash of a Spanish Air Force two-seat Eurofighter at Moron airbase on August 24 that killed a pilot from the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) has raised questions about the progress of the al-Salam agreement between the UK and Saudi governments. This $6.6 billion deal provided for the training of RSAF pilots and ground crew by the UK Royal Air Force, as well as the supply of 72 Eurofighters and various support services by BAE Systems.
Singapore’s choice of an advanced jet training system is due next month and could be crucial to the future export prospects of Italy’s M-346 Master and Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle. These dissimilar training jets have been bid here by rival prime contractors, ST Aero and Lockheed Martin, respectively.