NDP 2018: Celebration in the skies

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) this year, a celebratory aerial display featuring 25 RSAF aircraft will be conducted during the National Day weekend. Here are the highlights.


SINGAPORE - For the first time, the public can witness two Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) helicopters doing aerial manoeuvres together during the National Day weekend.

A pair of RSAF AH-64D Apache attack helicopters will perform 10 synchronised manoeuvres at the Marina Barrage for the biggest aerial display by the air force this year.

The RSAF50@Marina Barrage event, organised to commemorate the air force's 50th anniversary this year, will feature a total of 29 aircraft.

It will also feature an unmanned aircraft for the first time - the Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - in a pre-show segment close to the show centre.

There will be two shows of about 30 minutes each day at 10am and 2.30pm on Saturday and Sunday. The aerial display will also be streamed live on the RSAF's Facebook page.

The RSAF did a full rehearsal at a media preview on Tuesday (Aug 7), witnessed by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

The full sequence for the show is: A sequential fly-past, a fighter jet and helicopter aerial display, and a finale bomb burst manoeuvre.

Lieutenant-Colonel Nick Wong, chairman of the flying display committee, said: "This time, we're trying to do something different - new profiles and display segments - and this shows the professionalism and capabilities of the air force, as well as the ability to work together as a team."

Nineteen RSAF combat aircraft and four Singapore Youth Flying Club DA40 trainer aircraft will perform the fly-past in five formations.

The formations will fly at different altitudes between 500 feet and 2,000 feet, about 60 seconds apart.

Captain Ingkiriwang Reeve, one of the performing AH-64D pilots, said that having two helicopters performing together is exponentially more difficult than a single one as there are many extra factors to take into consideration.

He will have to follow the lead given by the other helicopter for the aerial manoeuvres and adjust according to wind conditions, he said.

"We also have to fly imperfectly to make it look perfect, because the people on the ground are looking at it from a different angle," he added.

Two F-16Cs and one F-15SG fighter jets will also perform 18 aerial manoeuvres to thrill audiences, including five new ones that were not performed at the Singapore Airshow in February.

Besides catching the aerial displays, families can also sign up for a picnic at the barrage organised by Families for Life on Saturday. There will be activities such as the making of sand art and paper planes. Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee will be taking part in the event, which will take place from 8am to 4pm.

Chief of Air Force Mervyn Tan, who was at the preview, said the RSAF50@Marina Barrage is one of the events designed to thank Singaporeans for their support of the air force over the years.

He said: "We hope that Singaporeans will enjoy the show and continue to give their fullest support to our airmen and women who are committed to defend our home, above all."