Aerial blend of firepower and finesse

Asia’s largest airshow returns to the Changi Exhibition Centre this weekend with much more pomp after smaller shows during the Covid years of 2020 and 2022.

More than 60,000 members of the public are expected to flock to the venue to experience the biennial Singapore Airshow, following a trade show from Feb 20 to 23 in which more than 1,000 companies from over 50 countries took part.

Aerobatic teams from different countries will display their explosive stunts on both Saturday and Sunday, from 11.30am to 12.15pm and 2.30pm to 3.15pm, while a static display will provide visitors an opportunity to get up close with aircraft and their crews.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)’s F-15SG and AH-64D Apache helicopter will perform four integrated manoeuvres – Slingshot, Knife-edge Flash Past, Double Helix and Golden Salute.

Both the Double Helix, described by the pilots as the most difficult, and Slingshot are new manoeuvres.

Each aircraft will also perform four solo manoeuvres.

The F-15SG will perform the Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) weave, the four-point roll, the slow loop and the triple aileron roll (with flares). The AH-64D will do the 180 deg wingover, Lasso, Alpine and Viking.

The aerial display will culminate with the Golden Salute to mark the RSAF’s appreciation to all Singaporeans. The AH-64D will perform a “bow” and the F-15SG a vertical spiral climb, releasing flares.

The chairman of the RSAF Flying Display Committee, Lieutenant Colonel Ng Han Lin, said: “The aircraft fly at vastly different speeds and a lot of behind-the-scene coordination is required. In some integrated manoeuvres, the aircraft will perform at their limits.”

The static display also features RSAF’s aircraft, including the CH-47F helicopter for the first time, and ground-based air defence systems.

The Sarang Helicopter Display Team of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is also set to enthral the crowd with its 16-minute aerobatics. It will highlight the prodigious skills of the IAF pilots, as well as the agility and manoeuvrability of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH Dhruv) manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Four ALH Dhruvs took to the skies on Feb 20 in a close formation aerobatics display performing manoeuvres including the Dolphin’s Leap, Cross Over Break, Double Arrow Cross, Mesh, Level Cross, Sarang Heart and Sarang Split.

The Sarang Heart was one of the manoeuvres that stole the viewers’ hearts as the smoke trails made a heart shape.

The helicopters flew in the Sarang formations of the Inverted Wineglass, India and Diamond.

The Sarang team, led by Group Captain S.K. Mishra, did similar manoeuvres at the Dubai Airshow last year and has performed in Chile, Germany, the United Kingdom and Russia.

The team also performs regularly all over India.

The Sarang team’s first international display was in Singapore at the Asian Aerospace Airshow in 2004.

The 2022 Singapore Airshow also saw a performance by India’s indigenously manufactured Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

Wing Commander Ashish Moghe, a former Sarang pilot and the team’s spokesperson, said: “Singapore and India enjoy deep defence ties and cooperation. We are hopeful that this engagement will further deepen these ties.”

Further symbolising Asia’s growing strength in aircraft manufacturing, China’s home-grown passenger jet C919 and Z-10ME attack helicopter made their international debuts in Singapore this week.

All aerial displays at the Singapore Airshow can be viewed through a livestream on Saturday (Feb 24) at www.singaporeairshowlive.gov.sg and MINDEF’s Facebook page.

Further details are available at https://www.singaporeairshow.com

“In some integrated manoeuvres, the aircraft will perform at their limits.”
Chairman of the RSAF Flying Display Committee, Lieutenant Colonel Ng Han Lin
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