Asia Minute: Singapore Air Show Has Drones, but No Brass Knuckles

Feb 18, 2016

Credit Alfred Grupstra / Flickr

Asia’s largest aviation show is underway this week in Singapore.  The exhibits feature both civilian and military aircraft, and it’s already turned into a busy marketplace.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

China’s first privately owned airline has big plans for its home market.  This week in Singapore, Okay Airways signed a $1.3 billion dollar deal for a dozen Boeing 737 jets.  There will be other deals announced over the next few days…and while civilian planes and helicopters are part of the show, the main focus is the military side.  Officials at the Singapore Air Show say that defense budgets across the Asia Pacific are expected to grow by nearly 20% over the next two years—to more than $600-billion dollars.

Military contractors from the United States, Europe, Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Malaysia and China are all selling and displaying various aircraft models in Singapore.  And then there are the drones—the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles…from the United States, China, Israel and elsewhere. 

The Singapore Air Show gets a lot of coverage in the industry press—including Defense News—which compiled a partial list of items that it is illegal to bring to the airshow.  That list is a little curious in its precision, with a definite nod to James Bond.  Explicitly banned items include spear guns, brass knuckles, industrial acid, machetes and walking sticks with a concealed dagger.