SINGAPORE: ATK sets sights on Asia-Pacific with Singapore Airshow debut

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With an eye on strong defence markets in the Asia-Pacific, US firm ATK has exhibited at the Singapore Airshow for the first time.

The company's main focus at the show is its aircraft modification business, said Jed Holzapfel, ATK's vice-president, international business for armament systems and missile products.

"We've attended in the past, and we exhibit routinely at Paris and Farnborough, but now we are expanding our international focus," said Holzapfel. "We think Singapore is a significant show in the Far East, a region with a lot of potential. Our presence at the show is modest, but our intent is to evaluate the traffic."

ATK has four business areas: aerospace, missile products, and both small and large calibre ammunition.

"The things we do are aircraft independent," said Holzapfel. "High-wing turboprops are good platforms for armaments and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance [ISR] capability. For example, we've modified De Havilland Dash 8s for maritime surveillance. This is a demanding environment, and the Far East has a lot of ocean and a need to oversee it."

He said a converted platform, such as the Airbus Military CN235, is far less expensive to operate than a dedicated maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) such as the Boeing P-8A Poseidon or Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion.

"Many countries may not need capability of P8 and P3, and can't afford that expenditure," said Holzapfel. "Our modification is more economical. If you look at the countries with territorial interests in the region, these are the countries we are talking to."

A good example of ATK's work are two CN235 transport aircraft that it will convert into ISR platforms for Jordan at its Fort Worth facility. The two aircraft will also receive a side firing 30mm cannon as well as the ability to fire Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and 70mm rockets.

In Singapore, ATK will also talk to potential customers about its advanced anti-radiation guided missile (AARGM) upgrade for the Raytheon AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation (HARM) missile, and its AAR-47 missile warning system, which is deployed on over 3,000 aircraft and helicopters.