Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have announced their decision to give the biennial Singapore Airshow 2020 a miss owing to the outbreak of the infectious 2019-nCoV Coronavirus.
More than 34,540 cases of the novel Coronavirus infection have been reported and 720 deaths confirmed in mainland China alone. On Friday, Singapore moved its disease outbreak response up a level to Orange following the infection of three individuals with no known links to previous cases or travel history to China. Code Orange is one step below Red, which signifies an out-of-control pandemic.
"Following the Singapore Ministry of Health's Feb 7 declaration of a Code Orange health alert, we consulted with the US government and our medical teams and decided not to participate in the Singapore Airshow. We determined this was in the best interest of our employees and aligned with the US Department of Defense's decision to reduce its presence," Lockheed Martin said in a statement.
Following the suit was Raytheon, which said it took the call “because of the growing health crisis in the region, and out of an abundance of caution.”
Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews said in a statement that the Undersecretary of Defense, Ellen Lord, will no longer attend the event "due to extenuating circumstances.” Lord is the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer and was the Pentagon’s lead representative at the event.
US Air Force’s F-22 Raptors and F-35B fighters, and China’s Ba Yi aerobatics team will however take part in the flying displays. “Flying for the first time in Singapore are China’s PLA Air Force aerobatics team Ba Yi, the United States Marine Corps’ F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, and the United States Pacific Air Forces’ F-22 Raptor,” airshow organizer Experia Events said.
South Korea's Black Eagles aerobatics team confirmed non-participation at the airshow on Monday. A day later, ten exhibitors from China and five more from three other countries (US- Gulfstream, Textron Aviation; Canada- CAE, Bombardier; Germany- Stemme) also pulled out of participators' list. Several western aerospace and defense companies- Airbus, Boeing and Safran, have shut down facilities in China.