New Pilots

Singapore Airshow Aircraft Highlights

2016 02 11

The Singapore Airshow, still the largest event of its kind in Asia, opens at the purpose-built Changi Exhibition Centre on February 16. Just ahead of this year’s six-day show, around 90 percent of the exhibit space had been sold, with returning exhibitors accounting for three-quarters of this, according to organizer Experia Events.

But with increasing competition from shows in other Asia Pacific countries, the organizers are taking a leaf from the Singapore government’s overall economic strategy by going upmarket and adding value. An impressive conference program downtown on the eve of the show will be backed up by new business forums at the show itself.

Two weeks before the show, Leck Chet Lam refused to rule out a debut appearance by the recently flown Mitsubishi Regional Jet. But even if the MRJ is a no-show, there will be two military types making their first appearance in Singapore: an Airbus A400M airlifter from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and a pair of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighters from the U.S. Air Force.

Also making show debuts will be two helicopters: the Airbus H145 and the Bell 505. Boeing will bring a 787-8F and the Sukhoi Superjet 100 is also listed for display. Finmeccanica is scheduled to bring Project Zero, its experimental electrically powered tiltrotor.

The U.S. Air Force will show an E-8 AWACS and the U.S. Navy a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol jet plus two F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters. Expect also business jets from Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream and Textron (Cessna), a brace of aircraft from the RSAF, and about 20 more assorted turboprops, transports and helicopters.

The daily hour-long flying display will be dominated by heavy military metal, with quieter relief provided only by an Airbus A350 XWB. There will be a coordinated display by an AH-64 Apache and F-15SG Strike Eagle of theRSAF; a French air force Rafale combat jet; a U.S. Air Force F-16C fighter and C-17 airlifter; and a Su-30MKMfighter from the Royal Malaysian Air Force. But the highlight for most will likely be the dynamic Black Eagles aerobatic team of the Republic of Korea Air Force, with their eight T-50 supersonic jet trainers.