RSAF soars into S'pore Airshow 2024

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18 Feb 2024 | COMMUNITY

RSAF soars into S'pore Airshow 2024

The RSAF returns to wow the public at Asia's most influential airshow.

//Story by Benita Teo / Photos by Chai Sian Liang

English 华文
The F-15SG fighter jet (left) and AH-64D Apache helicopter will be executing complex manoeuvres together in the RSAF’s aerial display.

Love the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) exhilarating aerial displays and getting up-close with different aircraft and weapon systems?

Good news: The RSAF will be bringing all these and more to the Singapore Airshow 2024 (SA24), taking place at the Changi Exhibition Centre (CEC) from 20 to 25 Feb!

Visitors will have the rare opportunity of getting up close with 10 different types of the RSAF's assets at the static display.

Return of crowd favourites

This year, the RSAF's F-15SG fighter jet and AH-64D Apache helicopter will be putting on a two-ship aerial display.

They will perform a series of solo and integrated moves, demonstrating the precision and manoeuvrability of the aircraft and showcasing the skills of the aircrew and ground crew.

One of the newest and most challenging manoeuvres is the Double Helix, where the Apache will perform a steep spiral descent while the F-15SG does a steep climb simultaneously in front of it.

This move simulates a dogfight in which the two aircraft carry out an integrated strike attack on a ground target.

A stunning showcase of skill, speed and manoeuvrability, the aerial display will push the capabilities of the F-15SG (above) and AH-64D (below) to their limits.

Apache pilot Major (MAJ) Ingkiriwang Reeve, who is also the AH-64D Aerial Display Team Lead, explained the difficulties of executing the move, which sees the helicopter beginning at an altitude of 2,000 feet and ending with a hover at 400 feet.

Said the 37-year-old: "Apart from managing the height and speed of the aircraft (as it turns), I also have to deal with the wind's varying intensity and direction at the different altitudes.

"At the same time, I need to maintain sight of the F-15SG at all times as it turns around us and climbs. All these variables make it more difficult than all the other moves."

MAJ Ingkiriwang (left) says his level of trust for co-pilot MAJ Chua is so high, he does not second-guess the latter’s directions to him while he is executing the manouevres.

While he focuses on flying the helicopter and executing the moves, his co-pilot – MAJ Eugene Chua, 36 – keeps a keen eye out for the aircraft's parameters such as speed, to ensure that they hit their marks together with the F-15SG.

Having this level of trust and synergy is essential to the pairing, added MAJ Chua. "Because we had flown together at SA20, we had already established this chemistry, so the journey this time around is much easier."

Graceful aerial dance

While they make it look effortless in the air, the F-15SG and Apache aircrew agree it was no easy feat putting together a display for the two vastly different aircraft.

"There's a massive difference in the performance of the platforms – the F-15SG is faster and turns tighter but with a bigger radius", explained F-15SG pilot MAJ Paul-Matthew Lim.

"Meanwhile, the Apache is slower yet more graceful and manoeuvrable. The key difficulty was to integrate the manoeuvres and find a way to present the strengths of the platforms together in a dynamic manner that the audience will enjoy, while staying within safety margins."

The 36-year-old is also the Team Lead of the F-15SG Aerial Display Team.

MAJ Lim (right) will be performing the aerial display in the F-15SG together with Weapon Systems Officer MAJ Lee Si Wei.
Captain Rebekah Abbott is the Airshow’s first female commentator. For her, the best part of the job is getting front-row seats to the aerial display and working with people from the different teams.

Military Expert (ME) 4 Katherine Chan, who leads the AH-64D Display Logistics Team and sees to the launch and recovery of the Apaches, agreed that the success of the aerial display lies in cooperation among all the teams involved.

"We need to have close coordination and communication among the different parties – such as the flying squadrons, control tower and CEC – to make sure that both the Apaches and F-15SGs meet their specific timings," said the 26-year-old.

"The aerial display showcases the capabilities of the RSAF, so we want to make sure we put up a good show."

You can't miss it: The A330 MRTT, the RSAF's largest aircraft, will be featured in the static display.

Showcasing our best

On the ground is another perennial favourite – a static display of the RSAF's full array of aircraft and ground-based air defence systems.

Visitors can get the chance to sit in the cockpits of the fighter jets and helicopters, or take a selfie with the RSAF's largest aircraft – the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).

The CH-47F Heavy Lift Helicopter (centre) will be making its Airshow debut.
Visitors can view the full suite of weapons that the Apache helicopter carries, at the static display for the first time.

Making its Airshow debut is the CH-47F Heavy Lift Helicopter, which will be replacing the older CH-47D variant. And for the first time at the event, the Apache will be displaying its suite armaments, which consists of the Hellfire missile, Hydra 70 rocket and 30mm round.

Eagle-eyed visitors can also look out for the special tail flash on the F-15SG that was designed for the RSAF's 50th anniversary last year.

BTS Force: (from left) 2SG Yogeswaran, ME4 Chan and 3SG Yap Kah Wei, an F-15SG Aerial Display Team AFT, have been working tirelessly to make sure the aircraft are in tiptop condition for show day.

Tow infinity and beyond!

In case you were wondering how some of these platforms made their way to the CEC, they were towed over from their air base – in the middle of the night!

2nd Sergeant (2SG) Yogeswaran S/O Murugas, 26, was part of the team that towed the fighter jets and MRTT from Changi Air Base (East) to CEC.

Although F-15SG Static Display Team Air Force Technician (AFT) was used to moving aircraft around in the day, working at night posed a different challenge.

The Full-time National Serviceman explained: "Because of the low visibility, we had to be more aware of our surroundings and look out for safety hazards, especially to the wingtips of the planes.

"We attached marshalling wands to the wingtips and tails so that those travelling in the convoy of aircraft could see ahead of them, and made sure to go slow when we had to cross over a bridge."

(From left) Chairman of the RSAF Sub-Committee Senior Lieutenant Colonel Yeong Kah Wai and Chairman of the RSAF Flying Display Committee Lieutenant Colonel Max Ng are thankful to the teams who dedicated time on top of their primary operational and staff duties to put up a good show at SA24.

Didn't manage to snag tickets to the Airshow? Don't worry, you can still catch a livestream of the aerial displays on 20 Feb at 12.20pm and 24 Feb at 11.20am at!

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