The Singapore event is billed as "Asia's largest aerospace and defense event," so participation is one indication of overall interest in the region. The U.S. occupied 30 percent of the airshow's total indoor exhibit space in addition to static aircraft displays, which included the Southeast Asian debut of Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jets.
The presence of high-level diplomats from the defense, commerce and state departments also distinguished the annual aviation event from previous editions. They included Mira Ricardel, under secretary of commerce for export administration, bureau of industry and security; Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, director of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency and Tina Kaidanow, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs.
The notable U.S. attendance comes on the heels of Washington's "Buy America" plan. In early January, Reuters reported that the White House was nearing completion of a policy that calls on U.S. diplomats and military attaches to help increase exports of American arms.