By Paolo Valpolini
If at Farnborough International Air Show 2018 there would be a Brexit stand, this might well be the most visited one during the trade days, everybody willing to get a better understanding of the Brexit White Paper, published a few days ago, and to figure out the impact on the aviation industry, both civil and military. Another stand that might attract considerable public would be the NATO stand, following the recent meeting of the Atlantic Alliance; what will be the future of the transatlantic relationship on defence matters is another key issue to understand how the world might evolve, both from the military as well as from the industrial standpoint. Clouds might not be forecasted for real in the first days of the air show, but they will definitely virtually hang over the exhibition area, many players trying to understand the scenario ahead of them. Coming from virtual to real, in the air the main military duel will take place in the tactical transport field, three champions, Airbus Military, Antonov and Embraer being apparently those that will fly their champions.
Not much in the fighters field, while TAI will demonstrate its ATAK helicopter, a few days after the announcement of the first export contract with Pakistan. With the future European sixth generation fighter being apparently a Franco-German issue, it will be interesting to hear on Monday from the UK Ministry of Defence the details of the country Combat Air Strategy. Innovative future military training schemes will be proposed for example by Italy, the industry and the military establishment being partners in this scheme, while the Czech Republic and Israel seem to be cooperating on multirole attack capabilities. What will be the future of the Turkish fighter programme? Will something emerge at Farnborough or will we have to wait until IDEF 2019 to know something more? The massive presence of US companies aims at reinforcing the footprint, especially over eastern European countries, many of them talking European but acting transatlantic. Beside all this, one of the areas that is increasing exponentially is that of counter-UAS, that follows with a delay of around a decade that of UAS, the latter evolution being far from finished. An interesting week is ahead of us, this introduction to the 2018 edition of the Farnborough Air Show ending forcefully with EDR Magazine’s best wishes to the Royal Air Force for its 100th birthday!