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Sunday, 18 February 2024 16:25

First public Singapore Airshow in 4 years promises new stunts by RSAF F-15 fighter jet and Apache helicopter

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An RSAF F-15SG fighter jet and Apache helicopter perform during a preview of the Singapore Airshow on Feb 18, 2024. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman) - 

 

 

Voinews, Singapore - The Singapore Airshow returns next weekend with public visiting days for the first time in four years and new stunts by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

The biennial event was closed to the public during its last edition in 2022 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the trade show will be held at the Changi Exhibition Centre from Feb 20 to Feb 23, with public visiting days on Feb 24 and 25. The aerial displays will also be streamed live on Feb 20 and 24.

The RSAF’s presentation is among this year’s eight aerial displays from six air forces and two commercial companies, which will also see the airshow debut of China’s C919 airliner.

A total of 12 stunts will be performed by an RSAF F-15SG fighter jet and an AH-64D Apache helicopter – four solo stunts each, and four “integrated” stunts interweaving both aircraft.

The RSAF’s aerial display team will debut two new integrated stunts dubbed the “double helix” and “slingshot”.

The slingshot opens the display with the Apache charging into the centre of the show as the F-15 makes a 360-degree high-G turn around the helicopter.

But it is the double helix – named for the way the Apache makes a steep spiral descent while the F-15 climbs up by it – that RSAF pilots described as the most difficult stunt in the show.

 

“There is a massive difference in the performance platforms” of the two aircraft, said Major Paul-Matthew Lim, 36, team lead for the F-15SG aerial display.

 

The F-15 moves faster and makes tighter turns but has a bigger radius, while the Apache is “more graceful and manoeuvrable”, making integration of the two platforms’ capabilities a challenge, he said.

MAJ Ingkiriwang Reeve, 37, team lead for the AH-64D aerial display, pointed out that the Apache descends about 1,600ft over the course of the double helix.

 

“Apart from managing the height and speed of my aircraft, I have to deal with the wind’s varying intensity and direction at each altitude level,” he said.

 

“At the same time, I must be visual with the F-15 at all times making a turn around us and climbing. So all these variables make it very difficult as compared to the other three manoeuvres.”

 

Executing the move therefore requires precise coordination between the two aircraft, as well as between himself and his co-pilot, he said.

The performance crew are from operational squadrons rather than a full-time aerial display team, pointed out Lieutenant Colonel Max Ng, chairman of the RSAF flying display committee. They started preparations last November.

“We hope to demonstrate our professionalism, precision and passion in all that we do in the aerial display,” he said.

RSAF’s full array of aircraft and ground-based air defence systems will also be on display on the public viewing days of Feb 24 and 25.

 

For the first time, this will include a CH-47F Chinook helicopter. The RSAF started taking delivery of the aircraft to Singapore in 2022, to replace its older Chinooks that have been in service since 1994.

 

Members of the RSAF’s ground crew said they hope Singaporeans will go to the airshow to enjoy and learn from the displays, and maintain confidence in the air force’s capabilities to protect Singapore’s skies.

 

For full-time national serviceman (NSF) Third Sergeant Yap Kah Wei, getting involved in the airshow was an honour and a “once in a lifetime” experience, although working with the RSAF’s assets felt daunting at times.

“There’s obviously pressure because it’s a multimillion (dollar) jet and I’m just an NSF,” said the 20-year-old air force technician for the F-15 aerial display team.

“But I believe that I’m confident in myself and in my abilities to do my tasks with the training given by my superiors,” he said.

“I have (learnt) many things that I can take away, that I can carry with me for the rest of my life.”//CNA-VOI

 

 

 

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