The Paris air show ranks at once as both the world's biggest air shows and (even if you pulled out all the commercial exhibits) one of the world's biggest defense shows. Here are a few of the likely hot topics in defense from the show:
JSF versus everybody: In a Wednesday event, Lockheed Martin says, "representatives from the F-35 partner nations will join together to express their unity in a special commemorative ceremony." Are these industry people? If not, what are they doing supporting Lockheed Martin's PR team instead of negotiating the best deal for the people they actually work for?
UAVs: Unmanned vehicles are the fashion accessory for the well-dressed arms trader this year. Big ones, small ones, UAVs that look like airplanes and UAVs that look like flying kitchen appliances. Key question: are they going to make money?
Tanker Wars II - You Thought Round One Was Dirty: Will this dispute go global? EADS is already firing warning shots, indicating that it will not quietly accept LPAT - "lowest price, acceptable technology" - a procurement rule that could be set to tip the contest towards the smaller Boeing KC-767. "It works for pencils and tablets, but with regard to operational forces it's a flawed concept, particularly when you start with platforms whose capabilities are well known," EADS North America CEO Ralph Crosby remarked this weekend.
Helicopters: EADS' Eurocopter unit and Lockheed Martin will continue teaming this week, giving details of their Armed Scout 635 proposal for the US Army and a new rescue helicopter proposal, AirKnight, for the UK. Meanwhile, the fate of Bell Helicopter hangs in the air. Clearly, spending all those billions of dollars on the V-22 and Comanche worked out really well for the US helicopter industry.
Watch this space - and our Le Bourget blog.