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Singapore Airshow 2012

February 21, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

The 2012 edition of the biennale Singapore Airshow was held from 14 to 19 February at the Changi Exhibition Centre. Being the largest aerospace and defence exhibition in Asia, the event witnessed the attendance of some 900 exhibiting companies and close to 45,000 trade visitors over the four industry-only trade days. The total order book for the airshow was at a whopping US$ 31 billion, with airlines from neighboring Indonesia being the biggest buyers. Among the major orders announced:

  • Indonesia's largest privately owned airline, Lion Air, and Boeing finalised a US$ 22.4 billion order consisting of 201 737 MAXs and 29 737-900ERs, making it the airframer's largest airliner order in history.
  • Lion Air also announced a US$ 610 million deal for 27 ATR72-600s for its subsidiary, Wings Air, taking its total order for the ATR72 turboprop to 60.
  • Garuda Indonesia placed a US$ 1.32 billion order for 6 Bombardier CRJ1000 with options for 18 additional aircraft.
  • Kuwait based aircraft-leasing company, ALAFCO, confirmed an order for 35 Airbus A320neo, bringing its orders for the type to 85.

The civil aviation scene may have dominated the airshow but there were a number of interesting developments in the military sector:

  • Not wanting to be outdone by its civilian counterparts, the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) signed a US$ 325 million deal with Airbus Military for 9 C-295 tactical transport aircraft to replace the aging Fokker F27s in service.
  • Lockheed Martin unveiled the latest version of the venerable F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-16V. At the heart of the upgrade will be a brand new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, as well as a new mission computer and glass cockpit.
  • Lockheed also launched the bare bones version of the C-130J tactical airlifter, the C-130XJ. With some of the non-essential equipment of the standard J-model uninstalled, Lockheed hopes to offer a reduced cost version to operators that do not necessarily require all the advanced features of the aircraft. In additional, the company proposed a maritime patrol variant called the SC-130J Sea Herc by mating the C-130J airframe with the P-3 Orion mission package.

On the hardware showcased at the airshow, Boeing's third prototype of the 787-8 Dreamliner made a stop at Changi while on its six-month world tour. To highlight the revolutionary passenger experience on the 787, the test aircraft had been fitted out with the 787 special cabin features including dramatically larger dimmable windows, bigger overhead storage bins and dynamic LED lighting.

At the centrepiece of the Singapore Airshow was Boeing's 787-8 Dreamliner. The aircraft is in the midst of a six-month-long“Dream Tour”. © Roy Choo


Having accepted an invitation from Singapore to perform at the airshow, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF)'s aerobatic team, the 'Smokey Bandits', made their first appearance in Singapore skies during the airshow. The often troubled bilateral ties between both countries have significantly improved in recent years, as can be seen in the increasingly frequent defense exchanges and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) deployments to the previous two LIMA airshows in Langkawi.

The ‘Smokey Bandits’, which is also known as the ‘Taufan Ganas’, performs a flypast over the show site. The name of the team was derived from the signature smoke trails of the Russian-made MiG-29N/NUBs. It has to be said that their performance was much subdued compared to the displays in LIMA 2011, chiefly due to the strict safety parameters enforced by the aviation authorities in Singapore. © Roy Choo


The Defence Ministers and Air Force Chiefs of Malaysia and Singapore, as well as fighter pilots from both countries pose for a group photo opportunity. © Roy Choo


Other interesting tidbits from Singapore Airshow 2012:

Responding to the RSAF's interest in the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) as a potential replacement for its aging KC-135R Stratotankers, Airbus Military brought a recently delivered Royal Air Force KC-30 Voyager to the Singapore Airshow. © Roy Choo


The RSAF's latest UAV, the IAI Heron 1, was also unveiled at the airshow. The High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) Heron 1 will be inducted into service with 119 Squadron and will replace the IAI Searcher 2 UAVs. © Roy Choo


Singapore Airshow 2012 reaffirms its position as Asia's premier aerospace exposition with its extensive networking and business opportunities and its staggering total value of deals announced. The show is set to return for its 4th edition from 11 -  16 February 2014.


View more images from Singapore Airshow 2012 at this gallery.

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LIMA 2011


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