SINGAPORE | The US military will be sending almost 20 aircraft to this year’s Singapore Airshow, while the Black Eagles and others pull out due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The US military commitment includes aerial demonstrations by the US Air Force F-22A Raptor Demo Team, a US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning from MCAS Iwakuni and the Pacific Air Force F-16C Demo Team. It will be the first time that the F-35 or F-22 have performed in Singapore.
On the ground, they will be displaying further F-22s, along with a C-17 Globemaster, E-3 Sentry, MQ-9 Reaper, RQ-4 Global Hawk, KC-135 Stratotanker, MV-22B Osprey, AH-1Z Viper, UH-1Y Venom, RQ-21 Blackjack, P-8A Poseidon, EA-18G Growlers and an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. A B-52H Stratofortress is also due to participate, possibly in the form of a flypast.
Members of Indonesia’s Jupiter Aerobatic Team, flying six KT-1B Woongbis, have also indicated their attendance in recent days, and the Republic of Singapore Air Force will participate with a display involving the F-15SG.
However, as some air arms bulk up their attendance, others have been pulling out. The Black Eagles, who confirmed their participation in January, said on Facebook on Monday 3rd January that their participation had been cancelled by the Air Force as part of a government-wide effort to prevent the spread of the disease and ensure the safety of its personnel.
A spokesperson added: ” I would like to express my sincere gratitude to both domestic and international fans who supported us and looked forward to our participation in the Singapore Airshow.”
The Black Eagles were due to be one of the main acts at the international trade show. They previously flew at the 2014 and 2016 events, and had been due to participate in the 2018 show, withdrawing only after a take-off accident on the first day.
Singapore is taking a hard line against coronavirus, and was the first nation to shut its borders to arrivals from China. Over 500 people are in quarantine and there are 18 confirmed cases, but all those affected are in a stable condition and most are improving, Channel News Asia reports.
The Singapore Airshow organisers, Experia Events, say that the show would continue as planned. However they acknowledged that the number of visitors would likely be lower than usual. Medics will be on standby in case visitors begin to feel unwell while at the event.
Several major exhibitors, including Textron and Gulfstream, have pulled out of the event as a precautionary measure to protect their staff, and Chinese exhibitors such as Comac are also unable to attend. Other companies, such as Rostec and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, appear to have reduced their participation at the show, according to state newspaper The Straits Times.
Recently, it was also revealed that India’s Sarang helicopter team would be unable to participate as the Indian Ministry of Defence failed to approve the trip in time. With only a week until the show, the line up remains in flux and no official list of aircraft participating in the aerial display has yet been published by the airshow organisers, despite repeated promises that the list would be made available by the end of January.
The Singapore Airshow will be held on the 11th-16th February and will be open to the public on the final two days. For more information, read our guide to the Singapore Airshow.