A report on some of the highlights from the first trade day from this year’s Singapore Air Show 2012.
After the Monday saw Singapore experience a spot of wet weather, the first official trade day of the air show was dry and cloudy - but would aviation executives’ spirits remain undampened?
Airbus, Boeing set the pace
The first official day of the show saw civil airline orders began to be announced. Airbus revealed an order for 35 re-engined A320neos for the Kuwait-based Aviation Lease and Finance Company (ALAFCO). This follows on from an earlier order from ALAFCO signed at the Dubai air Show for 50 A320 neos. Meanwhile, Boeing finalised an $22.4bn order made in November with Lion Air for 201 LEAP-1B-powered 737 MAX and 29 CFM56-7B-powered 737-900s.
Low collateral, precision mini-missiles
At the show, Raytheon was able to talk more about its 45lb mini-missile, the Griffin, which uses a dual seeker of GPS/INS and semi active laser guidance. This low-collateral precision weapon can be fired from a number of platforms including UAVs, aircraft, ships or patrol boats, or ground stations to give a non-line of sight precison attack capability. Tube launched, the weapon can also be fired by being ejected from the rear of the cansister, allowing it to be launched from the rear-ramp of transport aircraft, or even the doors of helicopters. Though Raytheon is coy about which UAVs this mini-missile has been integrated with, it has been used operationally by the US Marines C-130 Harvest Hawk and USAF MC-130W Dragon Spear. In a test last year with the ground-launched version, an aerostat was used to provide targeting data as part of a US Army forward operating base protection concept. The missile will also arm the US Navy’s Littorial Combat Ship, where its low cost and precision make it ideal in countering ‘swarm tactics’.
But it is not just in the US where low-collateral mini-munitions are becoming more popular. Israel’s IMI (Israel Military Industries) showed off its Whip Shot, an unpowered 15kg precision munition aimed at the light strike aircraft market such as the Super Tucano, or AT-6C. Up to 16, but more normally 8, could be carried by a Super Tucano, according to the company, giving it multiple precision strikes. IMI, like Raytheon too was tight-lipped about other smaller UAVs carrying this weapon, but it is a safe bet that this mini-munitions are, if not already in the hands of special forces using UAVs, then they soon will be.
Bombardier scores with CRJ
Bombardier has confirmed that it has sold six CRJ900 Next Gen regional jets to China Express Airlines plus an additional five options – the company’s first sale to China for nine years. The Canadian manufacturer has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AVIC International Leasing in China to support the financing of commercial aircraft sales. Bombardier also announced that it is to establish a regional sales and marketing office in Singapore.
RAF Voyager tanker on display
Oddly, the A330 MRTT tanker on the static display was not a RAAF example from comparatively close Australia, but a RAF Voyager aircraft, now undergoing development testing in Spain. The A330MRTT, says Airbus, is a “game-changing aeroplane” and the company expects that there are opportunties to sell another 100. Airbus delivered 6 in 2011 and will deliver another 7 this year.
Other civil orders
Embraer announced orders for three Lineage 1000 large executive jets with China’s Minsheng Financial Leasing Co as well as ten E195 regional jets for Brazilian low cost operator Azul plus two leased E175s for Belarusian carrier Belavia.
Boeing reveals Silent Eagle development timeline
While air show goers could see the RSAF’s latest F-15SG out on the ramp, Boeing briefed the press on its plans for the F-15SE Silent Eagle, which is aimed at South Korea’s FX-II fighter requirement and is going head-to-head with the Lockheed Martin F-35 and Eurofighter Typhoon for a potential 60-aircraft deal. Boeing revealed that testing and development for the ‘low-observable’ Eagle is progressing, with production tests of the digital electronic warfare system (DEWS) and fly-by-wire system set to begin this year. Both these will also be integrated into the new Saudi Arabian F-15SA. Further tests will integrate an advanced glass cockpit, canted tails, and reduced RCS measures into the Silent Eagle.
C919 orders mount
Meanwhile China’s COMAC was celebrating after getting an order from Hong-Kong based leasing company BOC Aviation for 20 C919s. This is the C919s eleventh customer and brings the backlog for the aircraft to 235.
China Eastern Airlines has ordered avionics from Rockwell Collins to equip 50 A320s currently on order from Airbus. Honeywell has won an order to supply avionics for 19 Air China Boeing 777s. Meanwhile Lufthansa Technik has opened a new A380 maintenance hangar at Ninoy Aquino Airport in Manila.
Chinese VTOL UAV makes debut
Making its first air show appearance outside China, was this this full-size mock-up of the X200 Chinese coaxial rotary wing X200 surveillance UAV. Designed by private company Yotaisc, the X200 is due to make its first flight later this year and can be fitted with a variety of payloads.
Aerospace companies flock to Seletar
In addition to Rolls-Royce’s new aero engine facility at Seletar Aerospace Park in Singapore which had its official opening on Monday (see Day 1 report), a number of other aerospace companies have also held opening ceremonies at the Park, including a new MRO facility plus aircraft sales and support services from Australian company Hawker Pacific, a regional airliner facility for Fokker Services Asia and a new GA centre run by MAJ Aviation.
First Indian P-8I radar delivered
At another briefing on maritime ISR, Raytheon revealed it had handed over the first international version of its APY-10 survelliance radar to Boeing for India’s P-8I maritime patrol aircraft. For the Indian Navy, Raytheon has tweaked the APY-10 to provide an air-to-air mode, as well as the capability to interleave weather data with the surface search mode.
Business and general aviation
Viking Air handed over its ninth production Twin Otter 400 to Papua New Guinea company OK Tedi Mining www.oktedi.com at a ceremony today. Meanwhile Hawker Pacific was also celebrating the sale of eight single-engined Diamond DA40 CS trainer aircraft to Flight Training Adelaide with options for 18 more. Business jet manufacturer Gulfstream is to provide finance services to customers interested in purchasing its pre-owned aircraft.
In other news, Bell Helicopter launched its long awaited 525 ‘super medium’ helicopter at the Heli-Tech Expo show in Dallas. With the uncomprising name of Relentless, the new 16-passenger Bell 525 will have a speed of 150kt and a range of over 400nm.
In a rush this Valentines Day? Not got a bouquet of flowers for your loved one? Changi Airport have the answer, with its stand in the exhibition hall that features not only a butterfly house, but also this unique selection of ‘aerial’ blooms… A case of ‘say it with flyers’?
Look out for the next report from Singapore
To follow all the news at Singapore don’t forget to bookmark media.aerosociety.com. For those on Twitter the hashtag is #SGA2012 and the Editor Tim Robinson will be tweeting live from the show on @RAeSTimR