Asia’s largest aerospace and defence event returns to Singapore again, where the latest tech and aircraft are showcased.
This year 1,062 companies from 50 countries and regions will be participating in the exhibition. But here are a few of the main features.
Pratt & Whitney
Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney are celebrating their 35th year in the Asia-Pacific region this year, and it has marked the occasion with the inauguration of the GP7200 engine overhaul facility—located right here in Singapore.
The engine center is a center of excellence for engine overhaul and repair services across multiple engine lines, operations in this region offer a wide range of engine maintenance, repair and overhaul services for operators in this region. In addition to being a global overhaul center for the GP7200 and PW4000 engines, the facility will be equipped with overhaul capabilities for the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan (GTF) PW1100G-JM engine by 2019. The GP7200 powers the Airbus A380 for Emirates and Air France, and has achieved a 99.9 percent departure reliability rating.
Pratt & Whitney also announced that it will be introducing Electron Beam Physical Vapor Deposition and laser cladding operations at its Turbine Overhaul Services center in Singapore.
Traditional welding operations have been replaced with laser cladding technology. Technicians previously had to manually weld materials together, a process that is highly dependent on an individual’s skill level. With the laser cladding machine, workers can now perform the task with minimal supervision to achieve lower re-work rates. Similar to additive manufacturing, this laser cladding technology deposits coatings on blade tips at a near 99 percent first-time pass rate.
The improved Electron Beam Physical Vapor Deposition process will allow the application of thermal barrier ceramic coatings on engine components to protect surfaces against corrosive environments for current and new Geared Turbofan engines. The process increases the length of time between repairs for these components and helps to increase overall durability.
Home grown engineering company ST Electronics has its own pavilion at this year’s airshow, which is divided into three specialized clusters focusing on Aviation, Defence and Smart Cities.
The VR simulator, which is designed to be a training aid for use during avionic systems upgrades, allows flight crews to get some virtual hands-on experience with their new gear. What is notable about this system is that it allows multicrew simulation, meaning that the entire crew can be present during the simulation at any given time for specified tasks (like with an MMORPG video game).
The VR trainer being showcased simulates a part task trainer, where visitors or users can be immersed in a virtual cockpit training environment to experience both procedural and scenario training. Users can experience the virtual cockpit, as well as encounter simulated scenarios such as terrain avoidance.
Also, the ST Engineering Aviation Cluster includes a sneak peek into research being conducted on unmanned freighters. It seems that ST Engineering is not planning to make cargo aircraft completely unmanned just yet, but is instead going for a softer approach by removing the copilot from the equation, and making the cockpit a single-seater rather than two-seater option.
At the ST Engineering pavilion, the company is showing a solution in which the copilot is based on the ground, and can monitor the flight of the modified Airbus A320/A321 freighter from a Ground Control System(GCS).
The benefit of this approach is that the copilot on the ground can divide their time between up to 12 different aircraft simultaneously. The GCS display shows how it can support and control a fleet of single-pilot freighters performing functions such as auto takeoff, auto altitude change, auto weather avoidance, and remote intervention and control of the aircraft.
Making its global airshow debut in Singapore is the rather sleek and beautiful looking HondaJet, which marks the Japanese motor company’s first foray into the world of passenger jets, following the forming of its aviation wing as the “Honda Aircraft Company” in 2006. Honda Aircraft Company is headquartered in North Carolina, USA.
The HondaJet, which is touted as the fastest, highest-flying, quietest, and most fuel-efficient jet in its class, features a unique Over-The-Wing Engine Mount (OTWEM) configuration that dramatically improves performance and fuel efficiency, reduces cabin noise, and increases cabin capacity. It also boasts a “fully serviceable aft lavatory,” which is a nice feature.
Embraer E-190 E2
The narrow-bodied Embraer E190-E2 regional jet from the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate also made its debut at the Singapore Airshow. This commercial aircraft, nicknamed the “profit hunter” by Embraer, features a tiger’s face spray painted onto its nose—a specially commissioned design intended as a mark of respect to Asia.
Why is the jet called the “profit hunter”? Well, the E190 shares a lot of its parts and maintenance procedures with other members of the E-Jets E2 platform, so its name reflects the cost reductions associated with the aircraft’s maintenance and parts. Similarly, the crew training qualifications are the same for the entire E2 range, meaning that last-minute changes to crew can be easily managed, and therefore increase efficiency. And finally, thanks to its use of weight-reducing smart materials and high aspect ratio wings, the E190-E2 offers significantly reduced fuel burn.
The E190-E2 is scheduled to enter into service in April 2018. Also on display at the air show is the Embraer Phenom 300E.
Airbus A350-1000 XWB
Making its first appearance before its first production aircraft is delivered to Qatar Airways in two weeks is the Airbus A350-1000, which is the largest twin-engine aircraft ever developed by Airbus and is set to compete against the rival Boeing B777 for a slice of the high-capacity long-haul market.
The A350-1000 is powered by a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 turbofan, which is not only the most efficient aero engine in the world but also has exceeded performance targets, being capable of hoisting an extra 5.3 tons of cargo in hot weather conditions, and having a better-than-expected EPNdB (effective perceived noise in decibels) rating of 16.5.
Other Featured Aircraft
Although the HondaJet, Embraer and Airbus aircraft were undoubtedly the stars of the show—making their first appearances at an airshow—there were some other birds that had never touched down at an airshow in Asia before.
The Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II made its first appearance at an Asian airshow, as previous shows only contained a nonfunctional mock-up of the aircraft. Clearly, the Republic of Singapore Air Force will be purchasing some of these in the future.
The Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft also made an appearance at the show, as did the Royal Thai Air Force’s Gripen jet.
There was also a range of business and commercial aircraft, which are appearing for the first time at an airshow in Asia, including the Gulfstream G500 and G600 aircraft, as well as the Cessna Citation Longitude.