Singapore Airshow 2018: Here’s what to check out at Asia’s largest aerospace exhibition

Singapore Airshow 2018 is here to see new business partnerships being formed and excite visitors. Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

The Singapore Airshow makes a glorious return in 2018 and continues to show why it’s still deserving of so much fanfare.

Proudly holding the accolade of Asia’s biggest airshow, the aerospace and defence exhibition this year is host to 1,062 participating firms consisting of 65 of the world’s Top 100 aerospace companies.

It’s not all business though. Visitors will be spoiled for choice with 60 aircraft showcased in the flesh at the outdoor static aircraft display area.

For those who love adrenaline-filled action, the aerobatics display is back with a star-studded roster of professional aerobatics teams from countries in Asia as well as the US.

If you are one of the excited thousands who will make the trip down this weekend, the sheer scale of the event might be overwhelming.

Have no fear, we’ve mapped out your your journey at the airshow – which is open to the public on Feb 10 and Feb 11 – to feature some highlights you simply cannot miss.

_________________________________________________________________ Visitors are required to buy or present their tickets at the entrance of the Changi Exhibition Centre. Exhibitors, contractors and media personnel are required to register at dedicated booths. Warning: Long queues are very likely but at least the venue is air-conditioned.

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Once you’ve cleared the security check, enjoy a 5-minute stroll towards the main exhibition area under the covered walk way, shielded from the elements. As you walk, take in the view of the coast and the cooling breeze.

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You’ll know when you’re there at the exhibition hall when you see the sign “Welcome to Singapore Airshow 2018”. The hall occupies an area of 40,000 sqm and has an impressive history of hosting many national and international conventions, trade exhibitions and specialised events.

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With great attention paid to virtual reality (VR) technology, flight simulators appear to be a common feature at the event.

The F-16 flight simulator at the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) pavilion is in collaboration with Boeing, and it’s definitely a must-see. It’s also a chance to see if you’ve got what it takes to be a fighter ace. Well, somewhat.

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Don’t forget to check out the mock-up of a Chinook helicopter also at the RSAF’s booth where you can pen your well wishes for RSAF’s 50th anniversary on the walls.

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If you can’t get enough of VR, head on over to the booth of French company Thales Group to don a VR headset and feel like you’re in an actual cockpit of a commercial airliner.

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Those who feel like staying on the ground but also want their taste of VR can visit Airbus’ booth where you can wear holographic spectacles that give you a walk-through of the booth in augmented reality. Here’s a photo of someone having a little spin with the gadget.

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Singapore’s own ST Engineering has the biggest exhibitor floor space of 2,000 sqm with a showcase of some sleek new military and peacekeeping hardware and systems.

You won’t be able to miss the intimidating behemoth that is the Next Generation Armoured Fighting Vehicle (NGAFV) at the entrance of their booth. Packing a powerful  30mm cannon and general purpose machine gun (GPMG), this hulking military masterpiece is not one to be messed with. Comfort and survivability guaranteed.

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Keep a watchful eye out for law enforcement and military personnel “patrolling” the booth wearing their futuristic Arielle Clothing and Protection gear. Don’t get too comfy with them as they might be armed with a light machine gun (LMG) or the less-than-lethal STK 40 GL. However a photo with them is always warmly welcomed. 

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After being awed by the exhibition displays, it’s time for some fun in the sun.

The massive 100,000 sqm static aircraft display area houses an unimaginably wide variety of aircraft including pieces from the RSAF, US Air Force, Textron Aviation and well-known aviation companies like Boeing.

Be sure to look out for a full scale mock-up of Lockheed Martin’s F-35B Lightning II as you exit the exhibition hall. A familiar face from 2014 and 2016’s airshows, the wooden stealth fighter mock-up is a fan favourite and just a teaser of the real thing you will see soon enough.

In the meantime, why not jump in the cockpit and have the friendly staff take a photo of you?

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Is that the roar of jet engines in the air? This year’s aerobatics display will feature a repertoire of teams ready to stun you with heart-stopping stunts and death-defying tricks.

Do not miss thrilling performances from the RSAF, Royal Malaysian Air Force, Royal Thai Air Force, Indonesian Air Force and US Air Force.

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Don’t forget to say hello to Airbus’ new darling, the A350-1000 airliner.

This is Airbus’ longest-fuselage version of its all-new XWB family of twin-aisle, widebody jetlinersThe A350-1000 boasts a spacious cabin able to seat 366 passengers, wider seats and elegant ambient lighting to provide maximum comfort for every flight.

This is aircraft’s debut appearance in Singapore so be sure to be among the first to witness its beauty.

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The fifth generation F-35B Lightning IIs have been unveiled for the first time in Singapore. If you thought the mock-up was stunning, the real deal is pure eye-candy.

These contenders for the sky’s apex predators are well known for their stealth cloaking and short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) capabilities.

Mainly used by the US Marine Corps, six out of the original nine partner countries on the F-35 project have received their first jets and foreign military sales (FMS) have been made to Israel, Japan and South Korea.

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Speaking of predators, did you know that the airshow has its very own flying tiger? Well, not exactly.

It’s a tiger face painted on the nose of Brazilian aerospace company Embraer’s E190-E2. Embraer hopes that the 146-seat twinjet will appeal to low-cost carriers worldwide and especially Southeast Asian airlines with its high-density configuration.

Why a tiger design? It is a humble nod to Embraer’s respect for Asia.

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Can’t get enough of the feel of the cockpit? The RSAF invites you to have a seat inside their F-16D, F-15SG, Chinook and many other aircraft too.

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Take our word for it: Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or not, you will have an undeniably fun time at the airshow, no matter how old you are.