Israel defense companies showcase products at Singapore Airshow

Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and Israel Aerospace Industries are just a few companies to have booths at the Singapore Airshow, Asia's largest aviation event.

 Skylark 3 Hybrid (photo credit: ELBIT SYSTEMS)
Skylark 3 Hybrid
(photo credit: ELBIT SYSTEMS)

More than a dozen Israeli companies will showcase their products at the upcoming Singapore Airshow 2022, despite the two countries keeping their defense ties low-key.

The biannual Singapore Airshow, which opens Tuesday at Changi Exhibition Center, is expecting some 13,000 trade visitors and 600 companies from 39 countries.

Israeli defense companies such as Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and 10 others will exhibit at the three-day-long airshow that is considered to be Asia’s largest aviation event.

The two countries officially established diplomatic relations in 1969, but have defense ties dating back to 1965, when Israeli military advisers assisted Singapore’s military in a covert manner after its declaration of independence.

The island city-state is also Israel’s second-largest importer in Asia, with much of the exports believed to be arms and other weaponry.

El Al plane equipped with Elbit's Directed IR Countermeasures (credit: ELBIT)El Al plane equipped with Elbit's Directed IR Countermeasures (credit: ELBIT)

This is not the first time that Israel has displayed their products in Singapore, but it comes several months after Defense Minister Benny Gantz made a five-day trip to the country that was barred from publication.

Though Gantz’s visit, which included security-related meetings, was set to be okayed for publication after his return, his office later barred its publication indefinitely. It was nevertheless later leaked by several media outlets in Israel.

Other senior defense officials have also conducted high-level visits to Singapore, all of them kept out of the public eye and out of the media’s watch.

But the Singapore Airshow is highly publicized, and the defense companies involved have sold their wares to the Southeast Asian nation for years.

At this year’s exhibition – which is expected to see half the amount of participants and will not be open to the public due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – the Israeli companies will display advanced technologies such as drones, surface-to-surface missiles, missile defense systems, naval electronic warfare systems and more.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will be displaying several air defense systems, including the quick reaction, lower-tier SPYDER.

The mobile system incorporates Rafael’s advanced Python-5 and I-Derby missiles to provide short-, medium- and long-range protection against a range of threats including attack aircraft, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, stand-off weapons and more.

The system, which uses an electro-optical observation payload and wireless data link communication, can engage multiple threats simultaneously up to 80 km. (50 miles) away in all weather conditions. It provides effective protection for maneuvering forces and strategic assets.

RAFAEL WILL also have its famed Iron Dome missile-defense system on display as well as the David’s Sling air-defense system; Drone Dome counter unmanned aerial systems (UAS); the SPICE family of stand-off, autonomous, air-to-surface munitions and others.

Elbit Systems will be displaying its latest Skylark 3 Hybrid medium-sized tactical unmanned aerial system. The UAS has a 4.7-meter (15-foot) wingspan, a maximum takeoff weight of 50 kg. (110 lbs.), a ceiling of 12,000 feet, and a range of 120 km. (75 miles).

The UAS, which can be used for covert operations, has a hybrid propulsion system: an internal combustion engine allowing it to fly rapidly to its target area before switching to its quiet electric engine. This allows the UAS to stay airborne for 18 hours, compared to five hours for the Skylark 3, making it more effective for operators.

Unlike the original Skylark 3, the hybrid version is versatile and robust, and able to integrate a range of payloads including ELINT, COMINT, laser designators and a high-resolution electo-optical payload on the same platform. Its launcher can be mounted on vehicles or vessels and is operated by a crew of two.

Due to it being the same platform as the original Skylark 3, customers can quickly operate it with similar training and maintenance.

IAI, meanwhile, will showcase for the first time its Blue Spear 5G surface-to-surface missile, which was co-developed with Singapore’s ST Engineering. The missile weighs 760 kg. (1,675 lbs.), is 4.3 meters (14 ft.) long and possesses a 150-kg. (330-lb.) high-explosive munition warhead that uses active radar homing for target acquisition via INS (inertial navigation system).

The missile has a 290-km. (180-mile) range at subsonic speeds and features sea-skimming capabilities that make it difficult for radars to detect and intercept. It can destroy both stationary and mobile maritime targets and can be launched from a range of land-based platforms.

The missile, which can be launched in fire-and-forget mode or a fire-and-update version, does not fly in a straight line toward its target, making it difficult for a radar or the optical system of an interceptor to detect and hit it.

Estonia has already purchased the missile and is expected to use it for coastal defense against hostile ships.

IAI will also display its BARAK air and missile-defense system, the MF-Star multifunction radar, Mini Harpy loitering munition, N-STAR naval electronic warfare system, ground robotic vehicles and more.