Singapore Airshow – Day 1 Helicopter news


All eyes are on the Singapore Airshow this week. The trade show opened yesterday with a smattering of new orders and a lot of talk about China.

The big four OEMs are present and making announcements. So far, Bell and Airbus are the two to announce new orders at the show, whilst Sikorsky and Leonardo have not.

Now we are moving into day two of the show. With events slightly overshadowed by the Korean Black Eagles runway crash, where a jet skidded and crashed on runway 1 of Changi Airport. To start off the second day, lets go through what exactly the big four have announced so far

Bell was first out of the gate, securing two orders with Asian customers. Its first announcement saw the Texan manufacturer sign a purchase agreement for 16 Bell 412EPI helicopters with the Philippine Department of National .

The 16 rotorcraft will be operated by the Philippine Air Force on multi-mission operations, including disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport and utility transport.

The purchase was made by the Philippine Department of National Defense through a government-to-government contract with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) and is part of the Air Force’s ongoing fleet modernisation plans.

Bell also announced a new order for its newest offering, the 505 Jet Ranger X from the Vietnam Helicopter Corporation. This marks the first Bell 505 Jet Ranger X order to be signed with the country.

The operator and its subsidiary, the Northern Vietnam Helicopter Company (NVHC), has not specified what missions the new Jet Rangers will be flying on, but NVHC is a multi-mission operator that provides oil and gas, tourism, air ambulance, search and rescue and VIP transport services.

On the Airbus front, it secured another two orders and a delivery. The first contract it signed was with Indiana-based operator and existing customer Excel Air Services for one H135 helicopter equipped with Airbus’s newest Helionix Avionics system.

The H135 will join Excel’s existing Airbus fleet of light utility helicopters, comprising the AS355N, AS350B2, AS350B3 and another Hermès-designed H135. This new helicopter will fly electronic news-gathering missions.

The second contract it signed was for one Airbus AS365N3+ with the Hokkaido Government – a first-time Airbus customer. The helicopter will be dedicated to flying rescue missions and supporting activities in the Japanese prefecture. Alongside these orders, Airbus also delivered another two AS365N3+, one to the Fukuoka City Fire Department and one to the Kumamoto prefecture.

Aside from orders and deliveries, Airbus also signed a contract with Thai Aviation Industries (TAI) to support all military and law enforcement helicopters in the region for two years. Its main customers will be the Royal Thai Armed Forces and the Royal Thai Police.

Leonardo has not announced any new orders or deliveries but is focused on showing off its helicopter models and defence aircraft to the Asian market. The day before the show, Leonardo said that it is aiming to grow its presence in the Asian Pacific region, targeting government and commercial customers.

To reach out to these customers, Leonardo is taking a technological focus, presenting its new air traffic control systems, radars and identification systems alongside its AW169, AW189 and AW139 helicopter models.

Finally, Sikorsky announced the certification of its new Black Hawk weapons system at the show. The systems received the military standards qualification for use on S-70M/S-70i Black Hawk helicopters. The systems will be integrated with the aircraft’s existing avionics. Development of the system was completed last year after six-years in the making.