Tag Archives: Singapore

The world according to Shephard: Week 4

What happens in Vegas

This week news was dominated by SHOT Show with over 1600 exhibitors turning out at the four-day Las Vegas firearms event.

Covering the story of Hensoldt unveiling a new fire control system, which has been primed for shoulder-launched weapons, Grant Turnbull also reports that the company expect the 4×30 600 FCS to be available to customers by the third quarter of 2019.


On the subject of pricking customer interest, Israel Weapon Industries also confirmed at SHOT that it expects to offer its new 7.62mm bullpup-configured Tavor 7 by the end of Q1 this year. The company is eyeing up both the military and law enforcement markets for its latest addition to the Tavor bullpup family rifle range.

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News from Singapore 

Show enthusiasts don’t have long to catch their breath before another big gig rolls into town – with industry focus shifting to Singapore for ADECS 2018 beginning next week. For those that can’t wait until then – never fear – we have a dedicated microsite which features pre-show news and a video preview of the event.

From Singapore Chen Chuanren reports that the Singapore Police Coast Guard (PCG) is busy exploring unmanned technologies to counter threats at sea. A series of trials have to date been key to such exploration with two variants of the Venus USV from ST Electronics being used, namely a Venus 9 and a larger Venus 16.

Singapore Coast Guard

While the Venus USVs are unarmed, they are fitted with an automatic fire extinguishing system and loudhailers for standard constabulary duties.

Training down under 

Continuing news in the Asia Pacific region, the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) has started military simulation training on it’s upgraded BAE Systems Hawk Mk 127 fleet at its Williamtown, New South Wales, base. The Project Air 5438 LIFCAP has led to the aircraft undergoing a major avionics upgrade alongside the deployment of three Full Mission Simulators (FMS) two at Williamtown and another to RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia.


Naval gazing 

Taking a look at the modernisation of the Indian Navy (IN) underwater fleet, Neelam Mathews outlines some of the difficulties that have challenged Project 75 – the IN’s framework for implementing indigenous submarine production. Signs of renewed hope are however emerging not least because of an $11 billion Project 75(I) programme which will build six advanced stealth submarines.


Chopper news 

On the helicopter front, the US Coast Guard (USCG) is sizing up ways to extend the life of its ageing Sikorsky H-60 Jayhawk fleet. 2025 had been planned for retiring the twin engine, medium range aircraft based on a 20,000 flight hour estimation. The USCG has opted to undertake market research with industry to determine if alternative solutions can deliver a breakthrough.


Among the possibilities which could be investigated are the replacement of the upper fuselage which should fully integrate with the current H-60T Jayhawk configuration or the replacement of the upper fuselage modified with various parts installed.

The USMC has no such plans to extend the life of its Bell Helicopter AH-1W Super Cobras with the fleet being retired by 2020. In a move that will have likely caught the attention of the international market, the service is set to offload a surplus of the aircraft to FMS customers. Industry is being requested to outline it’s suitability to manufacture Super Cobra glass cockpits as part of a sources sought notice issued by the Naval Air Systems Command.


Digital dominance 

Switching to the digital battlespace, defence leaders have been keen to publicise the need to better collect, process and exploit geospatial intelligence data. Alice Budge reports that Maj Gen James Hockenhull, director of cyber intelligence and information integration at the UK MoD, spoke of the pivotal role data plays in current and future conflicts.



Down & Out in Le Bourget

The Quill or Capture team always tries to do its best, we really do. But for some reason, covering the annual defence/aerospace show in Paris each year always results in many moments of amusement/disaster.

So, in the tradition of last year’s Eurosatory top ten, we give you the unadulterated truth about the Paris Air Show.

51eme salon international du Bourget. Visite officielle du president de la republique.The François Hollande experience

Chaos hit the Pairs Air Show first thing Monday morning – and before the Quill or Capture team even reached Le Bourget. The roads were manic (validating our excellent decision to walk to the site rather than bus it) with the imminent arrival of the French President, François Hollande.

Whistles were being blown, traffic was being directed – poorly – and the place was a semi car park. The motorcade that arrived was something to behold.

While at the show the madness ensued and one reporter had51eme salon international du Bourget. Visite officielle du president de la republique. the misfortune of being at France’s largest defence company’s pavilion as the president swept in.

Surrounded by a horde of reporters, TV crew, security, and other hangers-on, he entered the pavilion, had a gander at things and was on to the next thing before you could say Watchkeeper. Then everyone relaxed and resumed normal duties. It was quite the experience – oh, and he’s a lot shorter than he appears on TV.

The coffee bomb

One Quill or Capture staff reporter was on video duties for the air show and managed to make it through most of the week without incident, which is surprising for the reporter concerned.

However, a long week running around with camera and tripod eventually took its toll. One of his last tasks of the show was to interview the French Army’s NH90 test pilot. Tired, and a little sweaty, the dishevelled reporter was offered a strong French coffee at the NH Industries’ chalet. It was gladly accepted with the knowledge that it would perk him up for the coming interview.

The young waiter handed over steaming hot coffee in a cup and saucer. With one hand gripping his trusty tripod, the reporter excitedly took the coffee in his spare hand.

But the sunburn, the exhaustion and dehydration had taken over by this point and in an effort to put the saucer down to add some sugar, the whole thing spilled over the drinks 2015-05-20 13.44counter. No part of the counter was spared and even the waiter, in his crisp white shirt, was splashed with coffee. It was at this point the clumsy videographer was escorted outside and, safe to say, was not offered another drink.

Dinner in the dark

An often under-appreciated perk of the industry can be the after-hours dinners, functions and events where the hacks get a chance to meet industry reps on neutral ground and talk shop. This is a time when reservations are made and people behave perhaps more as they might in the real world, rather than keeping professional decorum foremost in the mind.Flir view of paris

Now imagine how free one of the Quill or Capture team felt when combining this with the apparent anonymity of dining in the dark. And you might imagine what drove one redoubtable member of the press corps to recite several verses of Hamlet to an unseen but no less present audience, bringing silence to what was once a noisy arena and now hushed with the solemnity usually reserved for more formal occasions.

Death by parasol

On the final day, the Quill or Capture team made its way back to Le Bourget for a last bit of filming and some schmoozing. While watching the air display and keeping up some social media duties at a company’s media chalet – we won’t name names – life flashed before the eyes of one reporter.

A gust of wind had lifted one of the weighty umbrellas from the main chalet next door into the air, did a summersault in the air and proceeded to land right on top of the unlucky journalist.

The StandOne of the company’s press relations team was at her aid straight away – probably thinking he had just inadvertently sacrificed a reporter to the air show gods. The poor reporter had a bit of a fuzzy sensation, but on reflection can’t be 100 per cent sure that was the knock to the head or the champagne.

The Quill or Capture air show awards

Among the multi-billion dollar orders, new programme launches and innovations on display at the Paris Air Show, for the discerning journalist there were also some important questions to answer.

Which company has the best media chalet, who is providing the best breakfasts and where is the best place to steal a moment with a glass of wine?

So, obviously without wishing to overly trivialise the serious nature of the aerospace industry, ahem, the Quill or Capture hospitality awards go to:

  • Best media chaletAribus Photo Paris Le Bourget

Normally a tough category but made a lot easier this year by the number of companies which stayed away. The Quill or Capture team sampled many chalets during the week but for the sheer ability to always find somewhere quiet to work, the award goes to Thales and its well-catered chalet right on the flight line.

  • Best breakfast

Another one that is normally hotly contested but that saw fewer serious candidates vying for the top spot this year. The runway winner was Bell Helicopter and its bacon and sausage bap, complete with English brown sauce – although this did result in our esteemed editor doing his best Ed Miliband impression during the F_46ff9b62281f91302d6dd0aac2c7547554dc816e5a9b3interview with Bell CEO John Garrison.

  • Best lunch

After a week of rich French food, you start to crave something a little spicy. The organisers of the Singapore Air Show provided the solution in their chalet in the form of an amazing Asian spread. Sometimes noodles are the best answer.

  • Best wine

While we can’t say we sampled every bottle available on ever chalet (hic), the selection at the CAE chalet was ‘pretty impressive’, in the words of Quill or Capture’s resident wine expert. The selection included an amazing Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux, a bottle of which is now securely stashed in the bottom of one editor’s wardrobe.

I’ve been everywhere, man. I’ve been everywhere…

We’ve been flat out here at Shephard over the past few months, and if you’re in the defence game you will have likely seen either me or one of my colleagues hitting trade shows in Singapore, Orlando, Berlin, Los Angeles, Dubai, Doha, Nashville, Kuala Lumpur, Tampa, Cologne, and at least one or two others I can’t recall off the top of my head.

Not to mention doing the rounds locally here in the UK. If it happened and it was news, we were there –  chasing lovely new bits of kit, monitoring the financial performance and programme announcements of the aerospace and defence
major leaguers, making sure we covered all the news, trials and tribulations of this ‘quirky little industry of ours’, to quote our dear leader.

For my part there were one or two definite highlights: covering Defense Service Asia (DSA) in Kuala Lumpur was an eye opener, as the whole3cb830ea thing was just so comically chaotic. The complex where the event was hosted was a rabbit warren of disparately sized rooms and corridors, and buildings linked by over-bridges, with no rhyme or reason to the lay out – at least to my eyes.

However, the show ran improbably smoothly, despite being somewhat overshadowed by the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which tended to crop up quite frequently during press conferences with regional authorities.

By some miracle I was able to find my way around DSA with relatively few issues and talk to some pretty interesting people. The Russians, who rebuffed my overtures early on in the show, eventually relented and agreed to talk to me, and I’m glad they did, as they were not shy about voicing their opinions on the politics of American defence manufacturers.

I had a good chat to companies and delegates from all over the world looking to solicit and cement trade relationships with regional industry, with Malaysia constantly touted as the next big growth opportunity. Whether this is true remains to be seen, but for sure the defence industry in general is taking America’s (perhaps pre-mature?) re-orientation to the Asia Pacific seriously, and indulging in some pre-emptive strategic shuffling.

By contrast, my next venture to the ILA Berlin Air Show revealed a predictably well organised, efficient, logically presented – if somewhat quiet – European defence industry gathering. ILA Berlin happened to follow hot on the heels of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, effectively putting the military capabilities of any nation in close proximity to the Ukrainian crisis under the spotlight, or microscope, depending on your perspective.

The waking of the Great Bear, and the subsequent European disquiet, added a sheen of optimism to the show, asindustry players anticipated a flurry of defence spending by the Ukraine’s worried neighbours. While there were one or two interesting announcements, by and large this expectation went unrealised for a lot of attendees.

Up next is Eurosatory in Paris – and you can expect to see us there as well.