B-52 Flyover Highlights US Presence at Singapore Airshow

Two B-52 Stratofortresses from the 5th Bomb Wing conducted a flyover at Changi Air Base during the Singapore Airshow late last week. The BUFFs, currently deployed to Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, flew to Singapore to be featured at the biennial event, which concluded Feb. 25.

The air show is recognized as one of the largest defense exhibitions in the Pacific, with this year’s iteration hosting over 120,000 trade and public visitors. While the bombers were the only American aircraft to conduct a flyover, other U.S. aircraft, including the F-35A, MQ-9, and P-8, were also showcased at the exhibition.

It has been a busy few weeks for the B-52s since they deployed to Guam in late January for a Bomber Task Force rotation. They took part in Cope North 24, a multilateral exercise including Japan, Australia, France, South Korea, and Canada. One of the bombers participated in a bilateral patrol drill with three Philippine FA-50 fighters over the South China Sea within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). And last week, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee staff visited Andersen to discuss B-52 operations in the Pacific with the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron.

At the Singapore Airshow, the Stratofortresses were not the only military aircraft to conduct demonstrations. The Republic of Singapore Air Force showcased their F-15SG fighters and AH-64D Apache attack helicopters. The Republic of Korea’s T-50s, a supersonic trainer jet built by Korea Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin, performed a team demonstration as well. And the Indian Air Force’s HAL Dhruv multi-role helicopter, manufactured in India, and the Indonesian Air Force’s KT-1B training aircraft, imported from South Korea, performed synchronized air maneuvers.

The event also featured solo flyovers by commercial aircraft, marking the debut of C919 by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) in front of a global audience for the first time. The German manufacturer Airbus, Boeing’s main competitor in the international commercial plane market, also showcased its A350-1000 flyover.

The U.S. and Singapore routinely engage in military exercises as well, with their air forces conducting annual three-week training in November 2023. Andersen Air Force Base in Guam is currently preparing for potential infrastructure upgrades to accommodate up to 12 Singaporean F-15SGs, with plans to expand approximately 209 acres of Guam over the next three to seven years to provide training facilities for the fighters and potentially other DAF service components or partner nations’ aircraft or missions operating from the base in the future.

The USAF B-52s were featured in the last iteration of the Singapore Airshow in 2022, alongside the F-35 A and B types, the RQ-4 Global Hawk, the KC-46 Pegasus, and the P-8 Poseidon.