Singapore Airshow Military Headlines
Mark Mansfield reports from Singapore
SAAB officially launched a new airborne early warning and control aircraft called the GlobalEye, combining its new Erieye ER active electronically scanned array radar with Bombardier's Global 6000 business aircraft. Erieye has previously been offered on the Embraer 145, SAAB 2000 and SAAB 340, but the new Global 6000 configuration will provide the highest altitude and longest endurance of them all, it is able to fly at up to 30,000ft for 11 hours.
GlobalEye offers 70% increase in radar performance, and is being offered with three layers of capability; the baseline AESA and C2 system, which can be used for air, land and sea surveillance, and includes electronic intelligence and electronic support measures, an additional infrared and sea search layer, and further signals intelligence 9SIGINT) system.
Lockheed Martin estimates that there could be a market for 100 or more F-35s in Asia-Pacific, beyond the more than 150 aircraft so far ordered by the region's confirmed customers, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
Boeing has resurrected the possibility of a sale of its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter to India, as part of a broader concept to support New Delhi's development of an indigenous aerospace sector. Jeff Kohler, Vice President of International Business Development for Boeing defense, says discussions are underway between the US and Indian governments about the potential for the USA to support New Delhi's " Make in India" initiative, which envisages local production across a range of industries.
Speaking at a media briefing, Kohler, however, stressed that India has not resurrected its 126 unit medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contest - won by the Dassault Rafale before being abandoned last year. "In our view, it's not a competition yet, and the Indian government is evaluating all the same players that where in the MMRCA competition," said Kohler. "it's a little different because there isn't a set of requirements for the aircraft, but we think it's much more about the Make in India on the industrial side than it is about the airplane."
The long-running MMRCA acquisition saw five fighters vying for the deal: the F/A 18E/F, SAAB Gripen NG, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and RAC MiG-35.
SAAB is to integrate its Swordfish maritime patrol system on two new airframes, the Bombardier Q400 turboprop and the Global 6000 business aircraft, as it moves away from its legacy SAAB 2000 platform. The extension of the product line has been driven by the emergence of an increased maritime threat leading to a requirement for more capability and flexibility from the aircraft.
Boeing believes it can build on a recent contract awarded from the US Navy for the V-22 Osprey and offer the tiltrotor to other future operators of Lockheed Martin F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) fighter. Bell Boeing will supply 44 Ospreys to the USN to replace the service's Northrop Grumman C-2A Greyhound carrier on-board delivery (COD) aircraft. A key modification will be a higher capacity fuel system, increasing range to 1,150nm (2,130km) from 860nm for the base-line MV-22B COD aircraft are an essential lifeline for carrier battle groups, delivering personnel, urgently needed spare parts, and other essential, and crucially for the F-35 operators, spare engines.
F-22 and other Top Guns at the show
One of the top stars at the Singapore Airshow was the USAF Lockheed Martin F-22. This is a fifth generation fighter is so technologically advanced that the US government refuses to allow it to be sold to any other nation.
The USAF also brought a F-16 and the Boeing C-17, its large heavy lift transport aircraft. There is a requirement in the Asia-Pacific region for more military transport aircraft, which would explain the presence of the Airbus defense and Space A400M at the show. The Royal Asian Air force operates the A400M, but Airbus defense and Space is hoping to sell it to other countries in the region including Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Thailand.
The Malaysian Air Force had a Sukhoi Su-30, they are planning to phase out the aircraft type, and considering the Rafale, which is why the French manufacturer brought it to the show.
Another aircraft that has been achieving some sales success is the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50. Indonesia and the Philippines have both ordered the type. The Republic of Korea Air Force's T-50 aerobatic team, the Black Eagles wowed the crowds on a daily basis with a high-powered show.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force flew a coordinated flying display involving the Boeing F-15SG and the Boeing Ah-64 Apache Attack helicopter.
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