RSAF Open House on May 21 to thrill again after five years

The RSAF Open House promises to be "abuzz with fun-filled activities" while showcasing the Air Force's operational capabilities.
The RSAF Open House promises to be "abuzz with fun-filled activities" while showcasing the Air Force's operational capabilities.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - A warning siren is sounded. Four F-15SG and F-16C fighter jets roar into action and take off from the tarmac to intercept a "hostile" aircraft that has intruded into Singapore's airspace.

The action, called a "fighter scramble" where military aircraft are activated and airborne within minutes to react to an immediate threat, is part of a 30-minute aerial display at the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Open House. The event will be held at Paya Lebar Air Base and open to public this weekend (May 21 and 22). The first two days (May 19 and 20) are only for organised visits.

Last held five years ago in 2011, the RSAF Open House promises to be "abuzz with fun-filled activities" while showcasing the Air Force's operational capabilities, the Ministry of Defence said.

Colonel Randy Ong, deputy chairman of the RSAF Open House organising committee, said the event helps the public better understand the RSAF.

"Five years is not a short time, a lot of things have evolved - our operations, our capabilities and how the third generation RSAF has evolved from 2011 to 2016. What we want is to show the public what exactly the RSAF is capable of now and what our people are able to do to ensure mission success," said Colonel Ong.

A total of 120,000 visitors are expected to throng the event, which will take place from 9am to 6pm. Admission is free.

The aerial display, which also features the AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, will be held twice a day - at 10.30am and 2.30pm on Saturday, and at 11.30am and 4.30pm on Sunday.

Visitors who had succeeded in securing an aircraft ride ticket from the online ballot will also get to see the Singapore skyline from above in a 20-minute joyride in one of four aircraft, including the CH-47 Chinook helicopter. The helicopter is typically used in transporting troops and equipment and it is also for medical evacuation, disaster relief and search and rescue. The online ballot has closed.

On the ground, more than 20 types of aircraft and weapon systems will be on static display. Visitors can get up close to these RSAF assets, including climbing into the cockpit of the iconic Black Knight F-16C fighter jet in its red and white paint scheme. The Black Knights is the aerobatics team of the RSAF.

Inside an interactive exhibition hall, display panels and videos tell stories of the air force and its airmen and women. There are also simulators where visitors can experience the flying of an F-16 aircraft or an unmanned aerial vehicle.

About 800 RSAF personnel are involved in the Open House. Preparations for it began about nine months ago.

Captain Nah Jin Ping is one of two female fighter pilots who will be involved in the aerial display.