Air Show Report : Singapore Airshow 2014
Singapore Airshow 2014
From 11 to 16 February 2014, the Singapore Airshow 2014 was held at the Changi Exhibition Centre. Report and photos by Jiun Yap
Singapore Airshow, Asia’s largest and one of the most important aerospace and defence exhibitions in the world, was in its fourth edition. The show included more than 60 of the world’s top 100 aerospace companies, and an impressive static and aerial display line-up. This participation level had reinforced its position as a must-attend event on the global aerospace and defence calendar. Singapore Airshow 2014 took place from 11 to 16 February at Changi Exhibition Centre, located on the other side of Changi international airport.
Singapore Airshow 2014 played host to over 1,000 exhibitors from 47 countries and 279 delegations from 72 countries. This year, an increased number of exhibitors took part presenting their products and services. Pilatus, UAC, Airbus, Embraer, and Bombardier among others took up outdoor spaces. Indoors SAAB, Rolls-Royce, and United Technologies Corporation had built double-storey exhibition booths. The event also featured 22 country/group pavilions, including new pavilions such as Hong Kong and Malaysia.
On the eve of the airshow, regional air traffic management saw a boost with the official commissioning of the LORADS III system at Singapore’s Air Traffic Control Centre. LORADS III consists of multi-sensor tracking technology to fuse data from multiple surveillance sources. In particular, it uses the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and the Wide Area Multilateral (WAML) to allow Singapore’s air traffic controllers to have perfect positioning of aircraft. LORADS III display and interface is designed to reduce controllers’ workload and offer safer and more effective air traffic management.
Meanwhile, Singapore will be making major infrastructure investments. The plan for the expansion of Changi Airport includes a third runway, the completion of Terminal 4 in 2017, a new mega Terminal 5, and project Jewel. Jewel is an iconic project that will expand the capacity of Terminal 1 and aims to provide an amazing transit and travel experience. When completed, Changi Airport will have a capacity to handle 132 million passengers annually.
To the north, also owned by the Changi Airport Group, the Seletar Aerospace Park is expanding with the aim of further developing Singapore’s MRO and aerospace manufacturing capability. There are a total of 45 companies at Seletar Aerospace Park today, including Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Bell Helicopter, Cessna, Bombardier, ATR, and ST Aerospace.
Airbus had brought the second of two A350 flight test aircraft to this airshow and expected two more aircraft to join the test programme soon. The A350 is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. The first two aircraft have been used for basic performance testing and the Airbus flight testing team will receive the fifth test aircraft in May for definitive analysis. The fifth aircraft will be built with production engines and be used for the mandatory 2-3 month test programme for commercial flight certification purposes. The first A350 on the production line for Qatar Airways is expected to be completed later this year and Airbus is confident that the A350 will enter into service with Qatar Airways before the end of the year.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) revealed the new Super Heron Heavy Fuel which is an update of the Heron 1 medium altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle. This new UAV differs from earlier versions through the integration of a heavy fuel engine. The engine enhancement has been made to meet customer demands to reduce their reliance on using traditional aviation fuels. The new version is also equipped with winglets to increase efficiency.
The competition for the F-16 upgrade market has intensified as was evident at the airshow. There are around 3500 F-16s in service world-wide, with a significant number planned to undergo a mid-life update over the coming years the stakes are high. At the airshow, BAE Systems and Raytheon were showcasing their proposal with the objective of rivaling the solution offered by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), which is seeking to upgrade its F-16C/D fleet. It was reported that Lockheed Martin had been contracted by Taiwan to upgrade its fleet. The upgrade kit for the Republic of China Air Force’s 150 F-16A/Bs comprises the Northrop Grumman’s scalable agile beam radar, a new centre pedestal display, new electronic warfare system and added functionalities in the mission computer. Meanwhile, BAE had secured a contract with Korea to upgrade 130 F-16C/Ds. The heart of this upgrade is the Raytheon’s Advanced Combat Radar.
The escalating territorial disputes in the South China Sea could significantly increase the region’s need for new Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The very capable Boeing P-8 Poseidon attended the airshow and was in the static display. The aircraft on show was one of two that were deployed to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, during December 2013 as part of the US Navy’s first operational deployment of the new aircraft. The Indian Navy has eight P-8I variants on order, while Australia has signed a memorandum of understanding for the potential purchase of some eight aircraft by 2017-2018. Courtesy of the Portuguese Air Force, the smaller turboprop CN-235 MPA marketed by the Airbus Group was also in the static line-up.
Republic of Singapore Air Force 45 Year Anniversary
To celebrate its 45thanniversary, the RSAF had built a 3000 square meter pavilion to present its history and current structure, activities and capabilities. The pavilion was divided into three zones. The first presented the RSAF's heritage and transformation, while the second demonstrated its operational capabilities and the third showcased the RSAF's people at work and at play. Also on display were 17 different types of RSAF aircraft and weapon systems. They included the F-15SG Strike Eagle, F-16C/D Fighting Falcon, Hermes UAV, Heron UAV, F-5S Tiger II, C-130 Hercules, AH-64D Apache, S-70B Sea Hawk, and various types of ground air defence systems.
Visitors to Singapore Airshow 2014 had enjoyed a world class flying display, with a record number of flying display participants in the history of airshows in Singapore. The flying included performances by three formation aerobatic teams, the largest number of aerobatic teams ever at Singapore Airshow.
The participation of Singapore’s very own Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Black Knights, flying six F-16C Fighting Falcons in Singapore’s national colours of white and red, was on the occasion of the RSAF’s 45th anniversary. These RSAF F-16C and their pilots were selected from combat units to reform the Black Knights team, and it was reported that they had trained together for 100 flying hours before performing to the public.
The other prominent team at the airshow was the South Korean’s Black Eagles, flying the Korea Aerospace Industries T-50B. The T-50B is a supersonic, highly manoeuvrable advanced jet trainer. It was reported that the Black Eagles had flown to Indonesia during this trip to Singapore Airshow to showcase the capabilities of the T-50B to the Indonesian Air Force. In addition, the appearance of the Yak-130 can also be attributed to Indonesia’s interest in a jet trainer. The Yak-130 is also a suitable modern jet trainer for other air forces in the region that are operating or considering upgraded Russian fighters, such as the latest Su-27 and MiG-29 variants.
The third formation team was the Indonesian Air Force’s Jupiter aerobatic team flying six KT-1B Woong Bee turboprop trainers also built by Korean Aerospace Industries. The Jupiter pilots are all instructors at the air force flying school in Yogyakarta.
In addition, there were solo demo performances by the Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet, the United States’ Pacific Air Forces F-16C, U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey, and the Yak-130 presented. A key highlight was the flying display by the Airbus A350XWB, which on February 11th marked the airliner’s first full display at an international airshow. The A350XWB participation at the Singapore Airshow enabled visitors to get a close-up look at the aircraft on the ground, while the flying display demonstrated its manoeuvrability, sleek design, and exceptional low noise levels.
Singapore Airshow 2014 was the biggest airshow ever held in Singapore. There was an increased number of exhibitors, with Pilatus, UAC, Airbus, Embraer and Bombardier also present this year. A total of US$32 billion of deals were announced at Singapore Airshow 2014 and it represents an increase in the value of deals from 2012. In all, over 40,000 trade visitors from 125 countries visited the show during the first three trade days, compared to some 38,000 in 2012. This underscored Singapore Airshow’s standing as an important platform for high-level government delegations and industry leaders. Moreover, Singapore Airshow 2014 attracted close to 100,000 visitors over the public day weekend. In addition to the 80,000 public day tickets that were completely sold out, the Airshow also welcomed invited guests for the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s 45th anniversary celebrations at Singapore Airshow, exhibitors’ personnel, student groups and concession ticket holders on the two days. Overall, the organization of the airshow was fantastic and the high level of participation from the aviation industry in the trade hall, static display and as part of the aerial display had made it worthwhile to attend. However, the announcements of the aircraft participating in the aerial display were only made a couple of weeks prior to the airshow. This could have made it difficult for enthusiasts to make the decision to attend. As the airshow site is located next to the very busy Changi Airport, there were restrictions on the aerial display timing and this could present a problem in the future if the airshow is to grow bigger with more aircraft participating in the aerial display.
Singapore Airshow 2016 will be held from 16 to 21 February at Changi Exhibition Centre.
Report and photos by Jiun Yap ( view portfolio )