Aerial displays, heartland exhibitions among year-long events to mark RSAF's 50th birthday

An F-15SG (centre) and two F-16s in formation in a training area north-east of Singapore, during a media preview to highlight the RSAF’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
An F-15SG (centre) and two F-16s in formation in a training area north-east of Singapore, during a media preview to highlight the RSAF’s 50th anniversary celebrations.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - An aerial flypast of more than 20 aircraft over the Marina Bay area during the National Day weekend will be one of the key events for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), which is marking its 50th anniversary this year.

Other events include another aerial display featuring two F-16C and one F-15SG fighter jets at the Singapore Airshow in February, heartland exhibitions across the island between March and May, and a commemorative parade with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as the guest of honour on Sept 1.

The RSAF50@Marina Barrage event will take place during the Aug 11-12 National Day Parade weekend, and the flypast will include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the first time. All types of flying assets - fighters, helicopters, UAVs and transport aircraft - will be represented.

There will also be an aerial display performance by a formation of two AH-64D attack helicopters, and F-15SG and F-16 fighter aircraft.

The air force will also be bringing the celebrations to three new heartland locations this year - Bedok, Sembawang and Punggol. This is in addition to two locations - Toa Payoh and Jurong East - where the RSAF also had heartland activities in 2014 to mark its 45th anniversary.

The heartland exhibitions this year will each last for two days over the weekend.

Other than exhibition panels and static aircraft displays, another first are the live demonstrations at each event, such as a display of helicopter operation at the Sembawang event from March 31 to April 1.

These events were announced by Brigadier-General Kelvin Khong, who chairs the RSAF50 steering committee, during a media briefing held at the Air Force Museum in Paya Lebar on Wednesday (Jan 17).

Explaining the theme of the celebration, BG Khong, 41, who is also the Chief-of-Staff (Air Staff), said: "The air force is here defending Singapore, but more than that, we are here for Singaporeans. That is why we have designed our themes to be 'Our Home, Above All'."

He added that more details of the flypast manoeuvres and other event highlights will be revealed in the months to come.


An F-15SG firing flares during a during a media preview to highlight the RSAF’s 50th anniversary celebrations. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

The RSAF counts its history from its earlier years as the Singapore Air Defence Command, which was formed in 1968. The RSAF was formally inaugurated on April 1, 1975.

From a first-generation force from the 1960s with assets such as the Alouette III helicopters and the Hawker Hunter jet aircraft, which was its first fighter aircraft, the RSAF is now a third-generation force capable of handling a spectrum of missions after a period of transformation since 2006.

These tasks include providing round-the-clock air defence in peacetime and achieving air superiority for the Singapore Armed Forces in war.

Peacetime missions include humanitarian and disaster relief operations such as during the Kuantan floods in 1971, the cable car rescue in 1983, and the Boxing Day tsunami relief efforts in 2004.

"What we have achieved so far is only possible with the dedication and commitment of every one of us. Looking forward to the future, we want to inspire the next generation to continue this legacy," added BG Khong.