Home' Defence Review Asia : DRA_Mar Apr 2012 Contents FIGHTER AIRCRAFT
There was a strong presence at the show from Lockheed Martin, marketing both
the F-16 and the F-35 and also Boeing with the F-15 and Super Hornet families.
European, Russian and Chinese suppliers were far less prominent – perhaps
preferring to concentrate their marketing efforts on individual countries.
Lockheed Marin used the show to announce the development of the F-16
Viper, which is a variant of the aircraft sweeping together various changes that
are underway. Arguably the most important is the introduction of an actively
electronically scanned array radar, as well as new displays, new data link
and an improved mission computer. The radar will be either the Raytheon
Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) or the Northrop Grumman Scalable Agile
Beam Radar and the company that wins the first production contract will be in
a strong position to mop up the remainder of the business, so the commercial
stakes are high.
The first cab off the rank for new radars is South Korea, with Taiwan and
the US itself not far behind. South Korea is also an important player in the new
fighter market with its FX-3 programme. This is a competition between the
‘Silent Eagle’ variant of the F-15, the Joint Strike Fighter and the Eurofighter
‘Typhoon’. Most observers discount the latter aircraft following its failure to be
selected by Japan.
The competition between the ‘Silent Eagle’ and JSF is more interesting.
Realising that the JSF has a huge advantage in the field of stealth, Boeing
initiated a variant of the F-15 with the ability to carry weapons internally.
While this in no way matches the very low observability characteristics of its
rival, it nevertheless represents an improvement in the aircraft’s radar cross
section. Whether this will be enough to satisfy customer requirements is in the
STRONG REGIONAL GROWTH
FORECASTS Kym Bergmann / Singapore
Lockheed Marin used the show to announce the
development of the F-16 Viper, which is a variant of the
aircraft sweeping together various changes that are
SINGAPORE AIR SHOW
n comparison with the same event in 2010 when the full effects of the global financial crisis were still reverberating, most defence suppliers
were in a more positive mood. This is not only because most Asian economies remain robust but that in a worrying development China
continues to expand it’s military at an alarming rate. While Beijing argues that this is all about national defence it is clear to see that power is
being projected further and further – and at times in a more aggressive manner.
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