RSAF F-16 fighter jet and Apache helicopters to perform at Singapore Airshow

The A330 Multi-role Tanker Transport will be on display at the Singapore Airshow 2022. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s static display at the Singapore Airshow 2022. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
The Aster 30 Missile System will be on display at the Singapore Airshow 2022. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will be putting up an aerial display with an F-16C fighter jet and two AH-64D Apache helicopters at this year's Singapore Airshow.

The 15-minute display, which will feature nine manoeuvres by the fighter plane and 12 by the helicopters, will be streamed live online for the public daily from Feb 15 to 18.

Five new manoeuvres will be performed - two by the F-16C and three by the AH-64D duo, including one called Twin Peaks, where both helicopters will climb and descend together, parallel to the show centre.

The chairman of the RSAF Flying Display Committee, Colonel Kevin Wee, said the focus for this year's display was on the individual capabilities of two types of aircraft.

"For the AH-64, in particular, we wanted to also showcase the close coordination required for formation flights involving two aircraft," he said at a media preview at the Changi Exhibition Centre on Thursday (Feb 10).

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

Unlike previous editions, this year's event will not be open to the public because of Covid-19 restrictions. Mainly trade visitors and government and military officials are expected to be there in person.

The RSAF's display will be among eight flying displays and fly-pasts from four air forces and two commercial companies at the event.

Col Wee, 49, said the airmen involved have to juggle day-to-day operational duties and training required for the aerial display, which started in December last year.

For the F-16C, four of the nine manoeuvres will feature the dispensing of flares. One highlight is the high-G turn, which pushes both the aircraft and air crew's physical limits, as the pilots are required to pull a force eight to nine times the force of gravity, Col Wee said.

Major Tan Yu Zhi, 36, who is the AH-64D aerial display team lead, said the most challenging manoeuvre is the close formation, which involves the two AH-64Ds flying to the show centre in unison.

"This one is personally meaningful for me because to execute this manoeuvre requires a lot of teamwork, trust, discipline and communication between the two aircraft. These are the ingredients that make the aerial display successful," he said.

Seven RSAF assets will also be on display at the Changi Exhibition Centre, including the F-15SG and F-16D+ fighter aircraft, the Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicle, and the Aster 30 missile system.

Also on display is the newly delivered H225M medium-lift helicopter, which can carry heavier loads and has better endurance than the Super Puma workhorses it will replace.

The H225M helicopter. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Its debut marks a proud moment for Mr Benjamin Ang, a principal engineer for helicopter aerosystems with the Defence Science and Technology Agency who was posted to France for more than two years to oversee testing of the aircraft and ensure its delivery.

He said: "There is definitely a sense of pride, knowing that we have worked hard to deliver this complex aircraft and especially since I've seen the aircraft from conception to production, flight test and finally to delivery."

The aerial displays will start at 12.30pm on Feb 15 and 11.30am on Feb 16, 17 and 18. The live stream will be available on the Ministry of Defence's Facebook page.

Correction note: The story has been edited to reflect the correct age of Major Tan Yu Zhi. 

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