Paris Air Show: the hottest show on earth

Like troops returning from the battlefield the news team has arrived at Shephard Towers victorious after a successful Paris Air Show.

Think I’m exaggerating? You don’t know man, you weren’t there!

With temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius (over 100 Fahrenheit) walking around the tarmac at Le Bourget was testing to even the most dedicated aviation journalist. One thing I will comment on though was the great sense of comradery that came out of the event. With everyone suffering in the heat, the best of the aviation industry came to surface.

As for the news there was a great display of aircraft, some exciting unveilings and many firsts from outside of the traditional western nations.

The KC-390 from Brazilian company Embraer made its debut at the Paris Air Show and while it spent the week in the static display it gained attention as an alternative transport and tanker aircraft.

The aircraft is on track for initial operating capability in 2018. Shephard was also able to speak with the chief test pilot from Embraer about the capabilities of the aircraft.

Another first, garnering much attention, was the mock up of the Chinese Wing Loong II MALE UAV which, surrounded by a multitude of weapon systems, is seen as a cheaper alternative to nations unable to buy from the US or with more modest budgets. Its shape is unmistakably similar to that of the General Atomics MALE UAVs. Our UV editor, Richard Thomas, takes a closer look at the UAV.

We also saw the unveiling of the Nightwarden. The new platform is a tactical UAV which has followed the development of the company’s developmental Shadow M2.

While there were no big unveilings on the rotary side of things Airbus Helicopters did reveal its Racer demonstrator which is part of its Clean Sky 2 project. Racer stands for Rapid and Cost-Effective Rotorcraft and the company hopes to fly its first aircraft in the next couple of years.

Other aircraft of interest included the Air Tractor AT802L ‘Longsword’ light-attack aircraft from L-3 which will be on its way to Kenya later this year. Leonardo showcased its fighter attack version of its M-346, the M-346 FA, as well as its T-100 training aircraft which it is putting forward for the US T-X programme.

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) showcased its T129 Atak and T625 multirole helicopter, with VIP configuration, as the company looks to expand further into the international market.

Now this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the team covered during the show and all the news and video coverage can be found online at This includes a chat with the F-35 chief test pilot, updates on the Safran Patroller for France and an overview of the French Tiger attack helicopter from the crew commander.

In the meantime I will leave you with some of the awesome tweets that came out of the week and 52nd Paris Air Show:


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