All the best photos from the static and flying display at the Singapore air show 2020

The flying display at this year’s Singapore Airshow offers an impressive display of capability, with the USA providing two fifth-generation fighters, and China putting forward its August 1st demonstration team.

Making their debut appearances in the Singapore show flying display are a Lockheed Martin F-22 from the US Air Force, and an F-35B from the US Marine Corps. 

The F-22 is the world’s most advanced air supremacy fighter. The highly maneuverable jet uses thrust vectoring to perform maneuvers such as the power loop and tail slide. In the tail slide the fighter descends tail first before dipping its nose and recovering into a short dive.

The appearance of the F-35B is a nod to Singapore’s decision to obtain the type. The country’s bid to become Southeast Asia’s first operator of a stealth fighter received a boost in January, when the US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of up to 12 examples for an estimated $2.75 billion.

Initially, Singapore plans to obtain four examples to test the type’s capabilities. Longer-term, the F-35 could replace the F-16 in Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) service.

In addition to a high-G performance, the F-35B’s display will include a signature hover. This is enabled by its Rolls-Royce lift fan and the swivelling nozzle for its single Pratt & Whitney F135 engine. This demonstrates the type’s short-takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) capability. A STOVL aircraft is regarded as attractive for Singapore given the crowded island’s limited space for air bases.

The debut Singapore appearance of the August 1st’s AVIC/Chengdu J-10As is not without controversy, as it was announced days before the show amid Singapore’s general ban on visitors who have been in Mainland China within the last two weeks. The ban stems from concerns about the spread of novel coronavirus.

In explaining the decision to allow the team in Singapore, show organiser Experia notes that the health of the team’s pilots and crews was carefully monitored before they came to Singapore.

The J-10 family of single-engined fighters is a key asset for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), filling a role roughly equivalent to the F-16 in western air forces. The August 1st team flies the J-10A, but more advanced variants of the jet, the J-10B and J-10C, have been developed.

The RSAF has again highlighted its creative flair for flying displays by pairing a single Boeing F-15SG with two AH-64D Apache attack helicopters. Over the years, the RSAF has developed a specialty for flying displays using dissimilar aircraft. Past displays have seen F-15SGs paired with F-16s, and F-16s paired with the now retired A-4SU Super Skyhawk.