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At this year’s Singapore Air Show confidence remained fragile after the financial crisis. Even in defence, a business usually armour-plated against economic flak, few headline deals were signed.

Asia is at the heart of the defence business’s ongoing realignment. Top-tier defence firms that once largely ignored the East are now scrambling to help wealthy Asian militaries recapitalise while their western counterparts wrestle with shrinking budgets. Several mid-sized companies that once had Asia to themselves could be heard complaining about the big…

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