Singapore, Indonesian armies to celebrate 50 years of bilateral relations with combined jump

The Singapore Army Red Lions and Indonesian Army (TNI-AD) jumpers coming in to land during a combined jump rehearsal at the Murai Urban Training Facility (MUTF) on Nov 17, 2017.
The Singapore Army Red Lions and Indonesian Army (TNI-AD) jumpers coming in to land during a combined jump rehearsal at the Murai Urban Training Facility (MUTF) on Nov 17, 2017.PHOTO: MINDEF
Singapore Army Red Lion First Warrant Officer (1WO) Tan Lee Khoon greeting Indonesian Army (TNI-AD) jumper Captain Wira Ardhani after a combined jump rehearsal at the Murai Urban Training Facility (MUTF) on Nov 17, 2017.
Singapore Army Red Lion First Warrant Officer (1WO) Tan Lee Khoon greeting Indonesian Army (TNI-AD) jumper Captain Wira Ardhani after a combined jump rehearsal at the Murai Urban Training Facility (MUTF) on Nov 17, 2017.PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - The Singapore and Indonesian armies will mark their countries' golden jubilee of bilateral relations with a combined jump from 10,000 feet (3,000m) – a display that underscores the close ties between the two sides.

The jump will be the first display jump to take place in Singapore at a closing ceremony of an exercise held with a foreign military.

Eight jumpers - four from each side - will leap from a Super Puma helicopter and land in front of 340 soldiers in a numeral "50" formation at Murai Urban Training Facility, near Lim Chu Kang, next Monday (Nov 20).

The jumpers will join hands, before fanning out to perform a bomb burst manoeuvre, with two lead jumpers unveiling the two national flags and the rest activating their smoke trails.

The entire manoeuvre was rehearsed at a media preview on Friday.

Singapore lead jumper Tan Lee Khoon, 48, said: "The combined jump is challenging because it's our first time jumping together, executing a complex profile, and we only have a few rehearsals."

Despite having only three rehearsals before Monday, they are working hard to perfect the sequence, added First Warrant Officer Tan, who has 1,450 jumps under his belt.

One of the jumpers from the Indonesian army, Captain Wira Ardhani, 32, said: "I'm very happy to work with 1WO Tan as he is not just a friend, but also a teacher."

Called the RISING 50 Jump, with "RI" standing for the Republic of Indonesia and "SING" for Singapore, it will be the highlight of the closing ceremony of the flagship exercise between the two infantries, Safkar Indopura.

The exercise has been conducted annually since 1989. This year's edition began on Nov 13, and was the first to involve Leopard 2SG Main Battle Tanks.

Commander of the Third Singapore Infantry Brigade, Colonel Goh Pei Ming, 35, who is the exercise director, said the inclusion of the tanks was "part of our overall effort to expand the bilateral defence cooperation between our two militaries".

On what he admires about the Indonesians, he said: "Indonesian soldiers are very disciplined, have high morale, and would sing and cheer very loudly to demonstrate their team spirit and camaraderie. This is something that I find pretty unique to the Indonesian military."

The other army-to-army exercise between the two countries is Exercise Chandrapura, which was first held in 1994. The nine-day exercise between the Singapore Army's Commandos and the Indonesian National Defence Forces Special Forces Command took place in July this year.

It focused on cross-training for urban operations, such as live-firing in close quarters and rappelling.

The close ties between the two sides extends to a wide range of activities, such as bilateral exercises, visits, professional exchanges and cross-attendance of courses.

Next Monday's commemoration follows another in September, when the two countries' air forces pulled off a combined fly-past witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo during the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders' Retreat.