NDP 2017 aerial fly-past to roar with F-15SG fighter jets

NSmen Pilots from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (left and right) with Senior lieutenant colonel Goh Sim Aik (centre) during the NDP 2017 Media Feature on Saturday, 8 July 2017.
NSmen Pilots from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (left and right) with Senior lieutenant colonel Goh Sim Aik (centre) during the NDP 2017 Media Feature on Saturday, 8 July 2017. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - The roar of fighter jets performing a signature manoeuvre during this year's National Day Parade (NDP) at the Marina Bay floating platform will be louder than before, as the Republic of Singapore Air Force rolls out F-15SG aircraft in an aerial display of military might.

This year will mark the first time in NDP history that the signature bomb burst manoeuvre is performed by a fleet of five F-15SG fighter planes. In previous years, such as during SG50 at the Padang, F-16 jets were used instead.

"The aerial fly-past may appear closer to the audience, because the aircraft is bigger, and the F-15SG also produces more sound, compared to the F-16," Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Goh Sim Aik, 40, the mission lead of the NDP 2017 aerial salute, told The Straits Times on Saturday (July 8), ahead of the second National Education show.

The bomb burst manoeuvre got its name from the way the jets soar in formation. It will see the five pilots break away, in a symmetrical and coordinated fashion, into different directions from an initial V-shaped formation.

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On why F-15SG fighter planes were used this year, SLTC Goh, who is also commanding officer of RSAF's 149 squadron, said the display of different aircraft during the bomb burst manoeuvre at various NDPs was a way to showcase the RSAF's fighter assets.

"In 2015, we had the F-16s displaying the bomb burst. There was a break in 2016, and now in 2017, we are putting up the F-15SG for the very first time in the bomb burst manoeuvre," he said.

In another first, the bomb burst manoeuvre this year will also be performed by two operationally ready national servicemen pilots. Their inclusion is a nod to NS50 this year, which is the 50th-year milestone of national service in Singapore. The other pilots are RSAF regulars.

"This year, it is NS50, and it is only right for us to have NSmen involved in NDP, for them to salute the nation, and will also allow Singaporeans to be able to recognise their contribution and dedication to national service," said SLTC Goh.

Captain (NS) Valent Tan, one of the NSmen pilots, said he was honoured and excited to be part of the team. Said the 38-year-old aviation consultant: "It's my first time participating in NDP in the capacity of an NSman, and I'm definitely looking forward to it, and hopefully I'll put on a good show for the nation."