Can't make it over to Jolly Olde England for this year's Farnborough International Airshow? Never fear, gov'na; your friends from DoDBuzz and DefenseTech are on the case.
Although it was tough making the decision to leave behind the sweltering, triple-digit National Capital Region for the cool, rainy English countryside, someone had to do it.
This year the world's aerospace and defense industries seem to be approaching Farnborough the way coastal residents approach preparing for a hurricane -- with the knowledge that a storm is coming, but wondering how bad it will be. North American and European defense budgets are projected to stay flat at best and nosedive at worst, and the Sword of Damocles that has been menacing Washington will likely also cast a long shadow at Farnborough.
We're expecting to hear a lot about upgrades, improvements and greater value, but not a lot about new programs or advanced concepts -- though you never know. We're also expecting to see a comparatively smaller presence from the big brand-name defense firms, which have made sure everyone knows they're scaling back what they spend on trade show exhibitions. Northrop Grumman isn't even playing at all.
Farnborough itself has tried to adapt to the gloomy outlook of its longtime metier, the aerospace world; this year show organizers say they're expanding the "security" expo, so who knows what kind of non-flying stuff will be on display.
At any rate, check back here and on DefenseTech soon for our total coverage of the international aerospace industry's hurricane party.
Update: Here was the Pentagon's announcement Friday about its role in Farnborough:
The Department of Defense will participate in the 2012 Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, United Kingdom, from July 9-15, 2012, with presentations by senior officials, static displays and aerial flight demonstrations.
Various models of U.S. military aircraft and equipment and approximately 100 aircrew and support personnel from military bases in Europe and the U.S. are scheduled to attend. Platforms include: the Army LUH-72 Lakota helicopter and ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle; Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet and P-3C Orion; the Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey; and several Air Force aircraft including the F-16C Fighting Falcon, C-130J Super Hercules, C-17A Globemaster III, F-15E Strike Eagle, and B-52 Stratofortress.
Participation in the biennial airshow highlights the strength of the U.S. commitment to the security of Europe and demonstrates the contributions the U.S. defense industry offers with various state-of-the-art capabilities vital for the support and protection of our allies' and partners' national-security interests.
The show typically attracts approximately 120,000 trade visitors and exhibitors from 40 countries. The availability of U.S. military aircraft, equipment and personnel is based on ongoing U.S. operational requirements and worldwide commitments.