RSAF's Apache helicopters and F-15SG to fly together at Singapore Airshow for first time

Aerial display by the Republic of Singapore Air Force aerial display team comprising a F-15-SG fighter plane and two AH-64D helicopters during the media preview of the Singapore Airshow on Feb 7, 2020. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - For the first time, visitors to the upcoming Singapore Airshow will get to view a joint aerial display by an F-15SG fighter jet and a pair of Apache attack helicopters from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

A total of 15 manoeuvres, including five new ones that involve all three aircraft, will form a 14-minute display over the Changi Exhibition Centre from Feb 11, including Feb 15 and 16 - the days the air show is open to the public.

"We wanted something unique and new for the public, and also to showcase the capabilities of the F-15SG and the manoeuvrability and agility of the AH-64Ds (helicopters),", said Senior Lieutenant-Colonel (SLTC) Mark Tan, chairman of the Flying Display Committee.

The Singapore Airshow 2020, organised by Experia Events, is an aerospace and defence exhibition held once every two years. The RSAF has participated in the air show since the first edition in 2008.

The last time the RSAF put up an aerial display with the two different types of aircraft was at the 2016 air show, but the integrated manouevres included only one Apache and one F-15SG.

SLTC Tan, 41, said during a media preview on Friday (Feb 7) that the main challenge in putting up such a display was having to integrate the moves of one aircraft that flies very quickly and another that flies a lot slower.

"So the challenge was to design profiles that would look good when the spectators see them. The initial design of the profiles, while they looked good on paper, they didn't look as nice when we executed them."

"So we really had to spend a lot of time, the guys had to understand the capabilities of each other's platform," said SLTC Tan, adding that flying training, including the use of simulators, started in October last year.

Captain Ingkiriwang Reeve, 32, one of the Apache helicopter pilots in the aerial display team, said strong winds pose another challenge.

"We fly typically at 100 to 120 knots, so the winds here could be about one-fifth or a quarter of our operating speed. That's how much we have to take into consideration and compensate," he said.

Among the new manoeuvres is the hover cross, where the two helicopters hover from left and right while the F-15SG circles them. Another, called the finale salute, is dedicated to Singaporeans for their continued support of the RSAF.

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Other than the aerial display, the RSAF will also be putting up a static display with 10 aircraft and weapon systems, including the debut of the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport and Aster 30 Missile System.

Other military assets include the F-15SG and F-16 multi-role fighter aircraft, the S-70B Seahawk helicopter, and the Heron 1 and Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicles. There is also an RSAF booth where visitors can learn more about its operations, capabilities, and training.

The chairman of the RSAF Sub-Committee for the Airshow, Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Damian Chee, 44, said that the air show is an important event for the public to gain a better understanding of the RSAF.

"It also provides an excellent opportunity for our airmen and women to engage our fellow Singaporeans, to allow them to gain a deeper understanding of what the RSAF does every day for the defence of Singapore," he said.

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