The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV is appearing at Singapore for the first time, with a USAF example on display on static.
The RQ-4 is among the most impressive UAVs in use, with a range of powerful sensors including synthetic aperture radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors.
Northrop executives have briefed journalists about the type at previous iterations of the show. While Singapore has never officially expressed interest in the type, it is believed to have an interest in the system.
Were the type to be obtained by Singapore, the RQ-4 would give the city state a powerful capability for persistent observation of strategic areas such as the northern part of the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea.
The type's appearance is also notable because it had to fly through some of the world's most congested commercial airspace to land at Changi Airport. The ability to operate in crowded commercial airspace is an important consideration for regional UAV operators.
Singapore is a major market for UAVs. At the 2016 show, Elbit Systems promoted maritime patrol capabilities for the Hermes 900. In 2014, Israel Aerospace Industries used the show to unveil the Super Heron HF, which introduced a heavy-fuel engine and other design changes.
Singapore's primary UAV is the IAI Heron 1, which achieved full operational capability in March 2017.