NDP 2018: Singapore Navy divers to do free fall for the first time, dropping 1,800m with 50kg gear

Naval combat divers will join the Red Lions in a free-fall jump at this year's National Day Parade. The divers will drop from a height of 1,800m into the waters around the Marina Bay Floating Platform.
The divers from the Naval Diving Unit will drop 1,800m from a Super Puma helicopter into the waters around the Marina Bay floating platform.
The divers from the Naval Diving Unit will drop 1,800m from a Super Puma helicopter into the waters around the Marina Bay floating platform.ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR
Naval combat divers embarking the Super Puma helicopter, on July 14, 2018.
Naval combat divers embarking the Super Puma helicopter, on July 14, 2018.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Naval combat divers pose for a photo in front of the Super Puma helicopter.
Naval combat divers pose for a photo in front of the Super Puma helicopter.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Naval combat divers gearing up for the free-fall water jump.
Naval combat divers gearing up for the free-fall water jump.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Journalist Jose Hong trying naval combat divers' gear.
Journalist Jose Hong trying naval combat divers' gear.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Aerial treats at the National Day Parade (NDP) will be bigger this year, with naval divers joining the crowd favourite Red Lions in a free-fall jump.

Combat divers from the Republic of Singapore Navy will jump with the Singapore Army Red Lions for the first time in NDP history.

The divers from the Naval Diving Unit (NDU) will drop 1,800m from a Super Puma helicopter into the waters around the Marina Bay floating platform, followed closely by the Red Lions, who will land on the platform itself.

The NDU's manoeuvre on Aug 9, called the free-fall water jump, is used in actual operations to access areas that are hard to reach by other means.

For example, divers may use the jump to access a ship out at sea.

Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Eric Tay leads the group of eight divers and said that unlike the Red Lions, who will wear their wing suits and parachutes, the divers will be carrying gear weighing 50kg and wearing dive fins while falling.

"This is to showcase the operational capabilities of the navy to the public," said MWO Tay, 47.

He added that operational gear, which includes an assault rifle, can weigh up to 70kg.+

 

MWO Tay said the fins catch a lot of wind when divers fall through the air, making it more difficult to control their movements.

Once in the water, they need to remove their parachutes, perform an equipment check, regroup and move off.

MWO Tay has jumped more than 750 times, and has performed thrice as a Red Lion for the NDP.

"The first time I jumped was in 2009, and my dream was to someday have a bunch of combat divers doing the jump, so this is a dream come true for me," he said.

"It's awesome, and this is an opportunity for the navy to showcase our capabilities to the nation."

The naval divers are already participating in all NDP rehearsals.