New helicopters & robust air defence capabilities strengthen RSAF's edge

Actions
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/wcm/connect/pioneer/8e032680-5233-4ac4-8695-ce62ebc2c3c4/15dec21_news1-thumbnail.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-8e032680-5233-4ac4-8695-ce62ebc2c3c4-nT2m..A /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/8e032680-5233-4ac4-8695-ce62ebc2c3c4/15dec21_news1-thumbnail.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-8e032680-5233-4ac4-8695-ce62ebc2c3c4-nT2m..A /web/portal/pioneer/article/feature-article-detail/ops-and-training/2021-Q4/15dec21_news1
15dec21_news1 /web/portal/pioneer/article/feature-article-detail/ops-and-training/2021-Q4/15dec21_news1
15 Dec 2021 | OPS & TRAINING

New helicopters & robust air defence capabilities strengthen RSAF's edge

The Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) operations will be getting a power lift with the addition of two new helicopters.

//Story by Benita Teo

//Photos by Chai Sian Liang & Tedd Jong

The new H225 Medium Lift helicopter will be joining the RSAF's fleet of choppers.
English 华文

The Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) operations will be getting a power lift with the addition of two new helicopters. Joining the current fleet are the H225M Medium Lift helicopter and the CH-47F Heavy Lift Helicopter.

They will take on a wide range of wartime and peacetime missions as part of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) Participation Command, from Search and Rescue (SAR) to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and aeromedical evacuation operations.

Enhancing rescue missions

A modern multi-role helicopter with enhanced lift and reach capabilities, the H225M is set to replace the RSAF's existing fleet of AS332M Super Pumas, which have been in service for almost four decades.

The H225M features an improved engine that allows the aircraft to fly further and longer, giving it a range that is 20 per cent longer than that of its older counterpart. It also has a higher load capacity and can carry more than 20 personnel, 11 stretchers or up to 4,750kg of underslung cargo.

"The new aircraft gives us greater flexibility in our missions with its longer range. It is also more manoeuvrable, while being more stable. So when we have to undertake complex missions, such as SAR or HADR, the operators have more confidence in achieving the mission safely and successfully," said Captain (CPT) Darryl Chong, a 26-year-old helicopter pilot.

(From left) 3WO Dinesh and CPT Chong believe that the H225M's longer range and enhanced features, such as the dual hoist system, will give air crew greater confidence in carrying out their rescue missions.

Another feature of the H225M heli is its enhanced double hoist system, which has longer cables and a faster motor.

During SAR missions where crew have to winch casualties from ships with tall masts or antennas, the longer cables allow the aircraft to hover from a higher height to avoid these obstacles. The double hoist system means that crew can continue with their mission even if one of the hoists fails.

3rd Warrant Officer (3WO) Dinesh Kumar, a 41-year-old Aircrew Specialist with about 15 SAR missions under his belt, explained how the enhancements contribute to their operations: "When it comes to rescue missions, time is precious and every second counts.

"With the H225M's increased winching speed, we can insert the winchmen faster and extract the casualties sooner. The double hoist also gives us the confidence to complete our missions in the event that one fails."

The C-47F carrying out underslung operations on RSS Endeavour. This new asset participated in Exercise Wallaby for the first time this year.

Doing the heavy lifting

The other aircraft is the CH-47F Heavy Lift Helicopter, which will replace the CH-47D Chinook helicopter that has been in service since 1994.

With a fully integrated, digital cockpit management system, the platform is able to provide pilots with more information of their surrounding and advanced autopilot capabilities. Most recently, the CH-47F helicopters participated in their inaugural Exercise Wallaby in Queensland, Australia, where they carried out deck landing operations with Landing Ship Tank RSS Endeavour.

Training for the crew of both the H225M and CH-47F began last year, ahead of the RSAF taking delivery of both assets in March and May of this year respectively.

A winchman demonstrating a stretcher winch. Aircrew have to extract casualties this way if the casualties are on vessels without landing pads.

Integrating air, land & sea forces

The two new helicopters are part of the RSAF's Participation Command, which was set up in 2008 to strengthen integration of the SAF's air-land-sea operations. It works with the Army and Navy to deliver effective air power in ground and maritime battles.

Mr Heng (centre) preparing to board the H225M helicopter for a familiarisation flight during his visit to Participation Command.

The command showcased some of its capabilities, including the new H225M helicopter, during a visit by Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How on 15 Dec. As part of the visit, he was invited on board the H225M for a familiarisation flight.

He also tried out the RoBot System (RBS) 70 training simulator. The RBS 70 is a man-portable, short-range anti-aircraft missile and is part of the RSAF's wide array of ground-based air defence weapons.

CPT Mohamad Faisal, an Air Warfare Officer (Air Defence Weapons) with the RBS 70 system. The short-range anti-aircraft missile is a common sight at overseas exercises such as Exercise Wallaby and Exercise Airguard.

Mr Heng also viewed an SAR demonstration by the RSAF's RESCUE 10 team. At the sound of a siren, the six-man team scrambled to answer the call of a simulated emergency.

Within minutes, team of a pilot and co-pilot, two aircrew, a medical officer and medic were airborne and headed for their "mission" out at sea.

Time is of the essence: Once the alarm is sounded, the RESCUE 10 team scrambles to the Super Puma to take off for their SAR mission.

Time is of the essence: Once the alarm is sounded, the RESCUE 10 team scrambles to the Super Puma to take off for their SAR mission.

Speaking to the media after his visit, Mr Heng noted the importance of an integrated armed force for a country like Singapore: "We have to optimise our resources. Unlike other armed forces, we do not operate on the basis that every service has its own full complement. So we work as a team and we fight as a team in an integrated manner.

"That is the distinguishing feature and strength of our Participation Command. The assets are raised and trained, and then planned and deployed together in support of our land and sea campaigns. This brings out the synergy among our three Services to the maximum effect."

Suggested Reading
Behind the RSAF's static display at S'pore Airshow 2024 Feature
Behind the RSAF's static display at S'pore Airshow 2024
COMMUNITY
20-Feb-24

Get a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of the challenging overnight towing operation as the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) prepares for its static display at the Singapore Airshow 2024!

Optimising visual performance for RSAF pilots
Optimising visual performance for RSAF pilots
OPS & TRAINING
26-Jan-24

Aspiring pilot candidates who are myopic have a choice of going through sponsored eye corrective surgery, should they make the cut.

RSAF's latest surface-to-air missile system is fully operational
Cover story
RSAF's latest surface-to-air missile system is fully operational
MILESTONES
29-Nov-23

The Aster 30 missile system has been conducting 24/7 air defence operations since August 2020. It can shoot down targets further, faster and more accurately than its predecessor, the I-HAWK.

The Air Force makes me feel alive: ME6 Sathananthar
The Air Force makes me feel alive: ME6 Sathananthar
PEOPLE
28-Nov-23

It's no surprise that ME6 Sathananthar Suresh loves serving in the RSAF. Find out why he's been in the air force for 28 years and what keeps him going.

Integrated air-land strike at Exercise Wallaby
Cover story
Integrated air-land strike at Exercise Wallaby
OPS & TRAINING
11-Oct-23

Integrated live firing from the air and ground, including the first firing of the Belrex Mortar at Shoalwater Bay Training Area, are all part of the SAF's biggest annual training in the land down under.

Brothers in arms at Ex Forging Sabre
Brothers in arms at Ex Forging Sabre
PEOPLE
05-Oct-23

Brothers ME3 Yew Boon Leng and ME2 Yew Boon Siong reunited at the exercise for the first time in nine months after being deployed in the US.

Fighter jet scramble; helicopter troop insertion at RSAF55 Open House Feature
Fighter jet scramble; helicopter troop insertion at RSAF55 Open House
COMMUNITY
05-Sep-23

Hear the roar of fighter jets and feel the heat of their engines at the RSAF55 Open House aerial capability display!

SAF, US Marine Corps strengthen ties at joint exercise Feature
SAF, US Marine Corps strengthen ties at joint exercise
OPS & TRAINING
09-Dec-22

Exercise Valiant Mark successfully concluded today on 9 December.

5 firsts for the RSAF
5 firsts for the RSAF
MILESTONES
01-Sep-22

As the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) marks its 54th birthday on 1 Sep, here are five "first" facts that you may not know.

SAF to sharpen capabilities & ramp up training, digitalisation efforts: Dr Ng Feature
SAF to sharpen capabilities & ramp up training, digitalisation efforts: Dr Ng
OPS & TRAINING
01-Jul-22

Defence minister Dr Ng Eng Hen outlines plans for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to stay vigilant against heightened security threats, in his annual SAF Day interview on 30 Jun.