Big U.S. Air Show Presence Targets Expanded Pacific Influence
SINGAPORE—Just days after the White House unveiled a new strategy for the U.S. role in the Asia-Pacific region—with the goal of increasing its influence—American officials cut the ribbon on their Singapore Airshow pavilion, which dominates almost one-third of the venue’s indoor space.
The aim is to promote even more U.S.-made aircraft and systems for the region.
“Events like this provide so much opportunity for us to engage with other partners around the world, and certainly for the business folks here. It gives you a chance to sell stuff, which is good,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of Pacific Air Forces, during the opening of the U.S. pavilion Feb. 15.
Wilsbach said when he travels through the region and meets with other air chiefs, the first questions involve how to train together more often, how to exchange experts, and “Can we buy the kit that you have?”
He noted, “This is an advantage for us, because if we’re the partner of choice and if our partners are using the same kit that we have, it’s very easy to become interoperable if you just do a few training exercises. And being interopable is how we achieve our objectives.”
Wilsbach pointed to the Republic of Singapore Air Force, which operates F-15s like the U.S. Air Force does, and which soon will fly Lockheed Martin F-35s.
There are more than 100 exhibitors at this year’s show, including 11 that are new to the event. U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Jonathan Kaplan said the air show is a unique opportunity, demonstrating “Singapore’s role as a regional hub and an integrator in Southeast Asia.”