SINGAPORE - Asia's largest air show kicks off on Tuesday (Feb 6), providing a platform to showcase upcoming technology and discuss emerging issues in the world of aviation such as the regulation of autonomous vehicles and aviation cybersecurity.
Singapore Airshow 2018 will host 65 of the top 100 global aerospace companies such as Airbus, Boeing and Rolls-Royce. Over 1,000 companies from 50 countries and regions will be involved in the four trade days of the defence and aerospace exhibition.
More than 130,000 visitors are expected, most of them on the two days on Feb 10 and 11 when it is open to the public.
As always, one of the highlights will be the aerobatic performances with pilots from six countries, including Singapore, South Korea, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the United States, taking part this year. A number of aircraft will be making their debut as static displays.
There will also be an indoor exhibition, spread over 3,000 sq m, detailing the history of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and showcasing its current capabilities.
The 15-minute aerial display by the RSAF, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will feature 15 manoeuvres, six of which are new.
The line-up of activities was announced by organiser Experia Events at a media briefing on Sunday (Feb 4) at the Changi Exhibition Centre, where the biennial show is taking place.
Aviation cybersecurity and autonomous vehicle technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, are two key issues which have emerged in the last two years since the previous air show, said Mr Leck Chet Lam, managing director of Experia Events.
Two new business forums, involving industry players such as chief executives, senior engineers and research directors, will focus on each of these topics. There will be four business forums and three conferences in total at Singapore Airshow 2018.
"We studied what's happening in the industry and these are the two key ones that we've picked up that we think is going to be starting its own growth cycle," said Mr Leck.
He added that it was important for cybersecurity to be discussed due to the greater dependence of aircraft on connectivity and integration, and reports of cyber attacks elsewhere.
The newly-certified Airbus A350-1000 long-range passenger jet and the latest-generation United States Marine Corp's F-35B, which can land like a helicopter, are among the new commercial and military planes that will be on display.
New innovations at the air show, including the ELTA Emergency Locator Transmittor and the Orion-D Man Pack drone detection system, will also be making their global debut.
In line with the effort to drive change, there will be a new pavilion called What's Next, where budding entrepreneurs with new technologies close to being commercialised can share and pitch their ideas to leading companies.
"The idea is to get all these start-ups to talk about their technologies, not necessarily in aviation itself... but what is applicable and what they are doing, that could be used to apply in the aviation-aerospace industry," said Mr Leck.
About 70 start-ups from nine countries will be attending the air show, including some which will be doing a five-minute pitch in front of a panel of judges, who will be representatives from companies such as Changi Airport Group and Thales Solutions.
The ST Engineering pavilion, the largest exhibitor this year, will feature cutting-edge technology such as the brain-computer-interface drone and a drone network system called DroNet.
"Our showcase at the airshow will demonstrate how we integrate our diverse capabilities and latest technologies to create robust and well-customised solutions for real-world problems," said Mr Chew Men Leong, the defence engineering group's chief marketing officer.