Palm tree fronds, yellow and dry, rustled in the gentle breeze almost in unison. The scorching bright sun peeped through tree tops, as its rays cast shapes of all kinds across the barren lands of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) in Rockhampton, Australia. Emerging from the horizon, two Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopters tear through the silence as it roared towards the target area, providing close air support as the Army troops secured their land battle objectives swiftly in a decisive victory.
This Air-Land integrated mission is just one of the numerous mission scenarios that were executed at this year's Exercise Wallaby (XWB), a large-force integrated Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) exercise held from 24 September to 7 November 2019. Conducted annually, XWB 19 saw the involvement of more than 670 RSAF personnel and 23 RSAF assets, playing an essential part in reinforcing the SAF's strong air-land integration.
Held across two frames, XWB 19 comprises a unilateral training exercise involving the Singapore Army, supported by the RSAF's Apache Helicopters providing close air support, underslung and troop-lift operations, and air-land integrated training involving C-130 airdrop operations, allowing the Army and the RSAF to work hand-in-hand to enhance interoperability and hone the operational competencies of personnel from both Services.
Air director for XWB Frame 1, COL Sherman Ong, noted, "The vast terrain and airspace in SWBTA allows the RSAF and Army to conduct highly realistic Air-Land integrated training of great complexity every year during XWB. This allows the RSAF to hone our operational competencies in delivering air power to decisively influence the land campaign".
Check out some cool shots from this year's exercise!