Singapore Airshow 2020: Go There See What?
STORY: Sim Ding En
11 February 2020
Come, come, admit it, don't shy.
Do you even care about the Singapore Airshow?
Every two years, since February 2008 (and every other February after that), the biennial show makes its way into the news, highlighting the tens of thousands of visitors it attracts, and reminding you of the existence of an ulu stretch of highway called Aviation Park Road (aka 鸟不生蛋的地方 aka birds wouldn't bother laying eggs there).
It's a six-day affair: the first four days are dedicated to trade visitors i.e. everything that they discuss, most of us will catch no ball. You want proof? According to The Straits Times, "electric propulsion systems, autonomous flight technologies and digitalisation will feature prominently at this year's event". Gong simi??
There's a lot of this going on during those four days:
Not say you cannot go visit these booths, but for the man- and woman-in-the-street like you and me, it'll be like putting hair gel on your armpits lor - pointless. But then again, you never know what kind of aviation dreams it could spark in your kid's mind. So...
Once you get out into the outdoor space, though, it's like Aladdin says - a whole new world. You might not like fighter jets or military aircraft, but wah lau, it's quite something standing next to one lah.
For one, they're sibei huge:
And you know how we all ooh and aah at the F15SG fighter jet aerial display during the National Day Parade? The airshow allows you to get right up in front of them:
And right next to them (did you know that the pilots' names are printed on the side of the jet?):
But hor, the real reason you should care about this year's airshow is to see the most advanced, most talked about and most expensive fighter jet in the RSAF's fleet of aircraft: the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
It's just been reported that the US has approved the sale of up to 12 of them to Singapore. What does that mean? Means we confirm buying four of them (each costs $160 million, okurrr), then we test test test, and if everything is ok, we may end up buying up to eight more of them.
According to the US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Rene Clarke Cooper, the price is a "total package" that includes training, maintenance and support.
But what's so special about this F-35B?
Well, to put it very simply, it can perform shorter take-offs and land vertically (like a helicopter). It has also improved its ability to "see" the enemy earlier and avoid being seen - a skill I have yet to master when it comes to dealing with bosses!
Of course, it can do much, much more than that. But aiyah, the details are very cheong hay. As long as you know and I know that this marvel of aviation can destroy the enemy effectively, can liao. As one colleague always says: "Cheap, fast, good. Pick two."
Meanwhile, here's the F-35B in action at this year's airshow (unfortunately, it can only be seen in the United States Marine Corps aerial display at 2.30pm on Saturday 15 Feb 2020 and at 11.30am on Sunday 16 Feb 2020, and not as part of the static display):
You can view details of all the aerobatic flying displays here.
It's also always very reassuring and encouraging to see our brudders from the RSAF milling around the static displays, looking confident, smart and ever-ready to defend our skies:
And what is a public event without any makan?
Don't worry, the F&B options are nubbad. Got pizza lah, kueh lah, popcorn lah, potato chips lah. And a beer brewed specially for this event!
So, if after reading all this, you do care about the Singapore Airshow 2020, you can check out the details to buy tickets here. The two public days this year are on 15 and 16 Feb 2020. There are also detailed instructions on how to get to the venue by Airshow Shuttle and taxi.
During this period, do take care and observe all the health advisories hor. And don't let this COVID-19 outbreak stop you from carrying on with your life and having some, ahem, plane good fun.