Singapore Prepares for Biggest Airshow Ever
By Wendell Minnick
14 Feb 2008
SINGAPORE - The Singapore Airshow, Asia's biggest defense event, scheduled for Feb. 19-24, will have more than 900 participating companies from 42 countries in attendance and more than 500 exhibitors representing about 800 subsidiaries, principals and agents from 34 countries. Organizers say they are expecting more than 30,000 trade visitors, half from overseas, with about 50,000 public visitors.
Considered the third-largest air show in the world, this year it will be held at the new Changi Exhibition Center (CEC), near the Central Business District. Ten minutes from Changi Airport, the new CEC is a huge multidimensional facility with a 40,000-square-meter exhibition hall and a 100,000-square-meter outdoor display area. Chalets will include Aermacchi, BAE, Bell, Boeing, Bombardier, CATIC, Dassault, EADS, Embraer, GE, Honeywell, IAI, KAI, L-3, Lockheed Martin, Mubadala, Northrop Grumman, Rolls Royce, Singapore's Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) and Defense Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), Thales and United Technologies.
Show organizers did not provide projected sales numbers, but they did point out that the Asia-Pacific region accounted for more than $40 billion worth of arms sales between 2000 and 2005, and that number is expected to double during the second half of the decade. If so, this would make the region the world's largest defense market.
Forty-two aircraft, both commercial and military, will be on static display, including the Airbus A380. There also will be aerobic flight displays by the Royal Australian Air Force's Roulettes flying six Pilatus PC-9/A aircraft, and the Singapore Air Force's Black Knights flying six F-16s. This is the first performance since 2000, when the Black Knights flew four A-4SU Super Skyhawks and two F-16s. There also will be aerial demonstration flights of the Italian Aermacchi M-346 and the South Korean KAI T-50 Golden Eagle.
The air show is a joint venture between the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the DSTA. CAAS, under the Ministry of Transport, represents the government in the negotiating air services agreements, advises on civil aviation issues and regulates air transport. DSTA, under MINDEF, is responsible for implementing technology plans, research and development, and procuring and developing infrastructure.
Also, for the first time, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology will be used for all exhibitors and guests to help reduce lines. An RFID tag uses radio waves for the purpose of identification.
"With multiple re-entries throughout trade show days, RFID tagging will help reduce queues and ease daily access for both exhibitors and guests. The technology will also enable show organizers to track peak traffic," an air show news release said.
There will be several conferences held on Feb. 18 at the Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Center.
The first, the Global Air Power Conference, organized by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), will include presentations from air chiefs and defense industry officials on the future of airpower and the development challenges. This is the fourth conference in the Asia-Pacific Security Conference (APSEC) series. Speakers will include Singapore's Minister of Defense Teo Chee Hean, along with seven air chiefs: Singapore - Major Gen. Ng Chee Khern; Indonesia - A.M. Subandrio; Australia - Geoffrey Shepherd; Israel - Major Gen. Elyezer Shkedy; Germany - Lt. Gen. Klaus-Peter Stieglitz; India - Major Fali Homi; France - Gen. Stephane Abrial; as well as Commander, Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Air Force, Gen. Carrol Chandler.
"I must say that I am very honored that many air chiefs are coming, including commander of the Pacific Air Forces," said Major Gen. Ng Chee Khern, RSAF air chief. "This year, we have gotten news that 28 air chiefs are coming, which is more than the numbers for any Asian Aerospace or Singapore Airshow. And a few luminaries have agreed to speak at the Global Air Power Conference."
The second, the International Defense Procurement Conference (IDPC), will discuss customer and supplier perspectives on procurement requirements, systems and approaches. The theme, "Defence Procurement for Force Transformation," will examine how force transformation affects the entire defense ecosystem. Participants will discuss six perspectives of defense procurement from various procurement agencies and companies. Speakers will include Ng Eng Hen, Singapore minister for manpower and second minister for defense; Soh Kong Pheng, chief executive, DSTA; and Shashi Kant Sharma, India's director-general of acquisition, Ministry of Defense.
The third, the 4th C4I Asia Conference, will focus on command and control in network centric warfare, managing battlespace and the effects of battlespace digitization in force transformation. The theme, "Force Transformation in Action: Achieving Agile C4I," also will focus on issues in implementing C4I in force transformation. Speakers include Lt. Gen. Desmond Kuek, chief of defense force, Singapore Armed Forces; John Grimes, assistant secretary of defense (NII) and chief information officer, U.S. DoD; and Rear Adm. Ophir Shoham, Commander C4I Technology Division, C4I Branch, IDF, Israel.
The fourth conference, the Global Space & Technology Convention (GSTC), will focus on space issues and technology. This will be held Feb. 20-21 at the Changi Exhibition Center. The GSTC is organized by the Singapore Space and Technology Association and is a platform for B2B networking and interaction within the space industry.
The Singapore Airshow Aviation Summit will be held at the Swissotel, Stamford, on Feb. 18. This closed-door event is a collaborative effort by the International Air Transport Association, CAAS and Ministry of Transport. Government and civil aviation representatives will discuss development challenges in the aviation industry.
The Singapore Airshow will once again host a Land Defense Pavilion with 52 booths, and for the first time it will have a mobility park for live demonstrations of unmanned vehicle systems. There will also be an Airport Pavilion with 27 booths and a Space Technology Pavilion with 50 booths.