Aerial allure: Naval divers, Red Lions thrill with parachute jump

A naval diver floating down towards the Marina Bay waters during the parade. A team of eight combat divers made its aerial NDP debut yesterday, jumping 1,800m from a Super Puma helicopter.
A naval diver floating down towards the Marina Bay waters during the parade. A team of eight combat divers made its aerial NDP debut yesterday, jumping 1,800m from a Super Puma helicopter.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a Red Lion ... The army’s Red Lions are greeted with thunderous applause as they whizz through the air past the Merlion before landing on the Marina Bay floating platform.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a Red Lion ... The army’s Red Lions are greeted with thunderous applause as they whizz through the air past the Merlion before landing on the Marina Bay floating platform.
A Republic of Singapore Air Force F-15 jet taking part in the NDP aerial performance. It has been painted blue as part of the air force’s 50th anniversary celebrations, slated for later this year.
A Republic of Singapore Air Force F-15 jet taking part in the NDP aerial performance. It has been painted blue as part of the air force’s 50th anniversary celebrations, slated for later this year.

As the sun began to set, the massive crowd was swept up in a wave of excitement by the stunning sight of eight Singapore naval divers, joining the Red Lions for the first time, floating down from the sky.

The spectators watched in awe as the combat divers from the Naval Diving Unit slid into the Marina Bay waters. The eight men, who were making their aerial debut at a National Day Parade (NDP), had jumped 1,800m from a Super Puma helicopter.

They were followed by the army's Red Lions, a crowd favourite, who were greeted with thunderous applause as they whizzed through the air in wingsuits and landed on the Marina Bay floating platform.

The 10 parachuters, with their distinctive red and white parachutes, launched themselves from 3,800m, an NDP record. One of them bumped into another as he landed, but both were unhurt.

Then came the aerial show with 26 aircraft performing formations and flying over Marina Bay.

Two F-16 jets among them formed a heart in the sky with their smoke trails, sparking loud cheers and claps from spectators. It was a reprise of a 2008 manoeuvre by the Black Knights, the aerobatics team of the air force.

  • 3,800m 

    Record height from which the Red Lions executed a wingsuit jump out of a C-130 aircraft.

 

To mark the 50th year of the air force, the final turn was done by an F-15 jet decked in blue. It brought the aerial performance to a close by doing a G-force turn in a sharp vertical climb to 2,400m.

Mr Haroon Omar, 69, a retired operations executive who was at the parade with his wife, said he enjoyed watching the naval divers. "It's something different from previous years. I would like to see it again."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2018, with the headline 'Aerial allure: Naval divers, Red Lions thrill with parachute jump'. Print Edition | Subscribe