Loyal readers will know that DoD Buzz has been committed from its first month -- July two years ago -- to covering the world's premier airshows, Farnborough and Paris. We continue the tradition starting Sunday.
This year look for greatly increased video coverage of the show by us, thank to our multimedia guru, Glenn Anderson. We'll be scoring interviews with senior industry and government officials from every country we can get (we'll even try for PRC officials), taking you inside cockpits and talking to the men and women who fly these birds. We'll also be working with our sister website, HMForces, to help beef up our coverage of our close ally, the United Kingdom
Trends to look for during the show:
As was true at Paris last year, UAVs or UAS (or whatever they are being called this week) will dominate many companies' marketing efforts. In recognition of this, show organizers pushed hard to get Britain's regulators to allow UAS flights during the show, but just as so often happens in America, they had to back off in the face of civil safety concerns. Instead, the show will offer flights of very small UAS. Here's the show's list of fliers:
The UAV display will focus on experimental platforms and technology demonstrators, Due to safety considerations, the flight displays will include small and ‘micro’ UAVs. Among these is the Vigilant mini-UAV from UTSL, SR30 robotic helicopter from Advanced UAS Technology and Robomotion, the Blue Bear ‘Blackstart’ research vehicle, the Aeryon Scout quad-copter from the Canadian company Aeryon Labs, the Fanwing STOL aircraft, the Boomerang from YellowPlane sUAS, and the Israeli MicroB micro-UAV from Blue Bird. Elbit Systems will also display the Guardium autonomous ground vehicle, designed for airport perimeter security.So, no Global Hawks turning lazy figure-eights over the English countryside, but the tactical crowd should be pleased.
The other major defense theme is likely to be on international competitions and the top contenders for those. The Joint Strike Fighter -- as we exclusively reported -- will not be going to the show. Nor will any of F-35's joint program staff.
The biggest international competition that may be influenced by doings at Farnborough is India’s $10 billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft buy. Boeing wants to sell their F/A-18E/F and Lockheed Martin hopes to win India with the F-16I. European firms are peddling the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen NG. Russia, considered by many the likely winner, offers the MiG-35. The good news for American companies is that the Russians have scaled back their participation at Farnborough.
Watch for our stories throughout the week, starting Sunday.