The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is celebrating her 45th anniversary this year, and held in conjunction with the bi-annual Singapore Airshow 14. Coffee and Bullets, or Purple Light Visuals, depending on which angle you see me, is invited by the RSAF to the RSAF Family Day on the 8th Feb 2014.
The day started early at 0715 at Pasir Ris on a shuttle bus to Changi Air Base East, where we will be taking our CH-47D Chinook ride. The route takes us via Sinjon Crossing at 500ft, spotting landmarks like St John Island, PSA ports and the Marina Bay . The Chinook, in my opinion, is a more fun filled ride with tighter turns, and the unpressurised fuselage, allowing one to feel the wind and noise from all the action. Of the three times I have been on the Chinook, this is actually the first I have landed with the helicopter itself.=p
Throughout the Public Days, the RSAF will conduct about 4 (2 flights of 2 elements) Chinook and 3 C-130 rides daily, and you can stand a chance to win your tickets by balloting for them at the RSAF Facebook Page.
Singapore Airshow will be the RSAF’s largest participation yet, with 17 aircrafts and weapon systems. Crowd favourites will be the F-15SG Eagle and F-16s, of which all are of the D+ variant, one from 145 Sqn is seen without the conformal fuel tank.
A rarer participant is the F-5S/T Tiger, which is also celebrating its 35th year in RSAF service this 19 Feb as well. Take plenty of photos as this platform will not last long in RSAF, nearing the end of its service life.
The planes of the Transport Group, G550 CAEW and C-130 are fielded as well, except for the KC-135R which did not participate. At the same time, there has been rumours of the A330 MRTT as its replacement.
Air Defence and Operation Command’s new SPYDER from 165 Sqn and main workhorse he 163 Sqn I HAWK is the focus of the land based air defense, as there are no signs of the 160 Sqn 35mm gun (new toy coming?) and the new ASTER-30 SAM system. New system includes the Thales Shikra Short Range AMB Radar, a bigger cousin of the Saab Super Giraffe AMB radar. This system is likely to be part of the bigger ASTER, Spyder SAM and future SHORAD system architecture.
UAV Command is represented by the Heron and Hermes 450 UAV.
In the RSAF Pavilion will bring you through the history of the RSAF and how fast we have transformed from a non-existent force to a integrated fighting force that is well respected across the world. Men and women from all five Command of RSAF will be present, so feel free to approach them for a chat and picture. Check out the F15 simulator at the centre of the hall for a close up feel of flying the cutting edge F-15SG
We were in time for the aerial display with the Black Knights and Korean Black Eagles taking centre stage .
Another team in town is the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU)’s Jupiter Aerobatic Team (JAT). Formed in 2008, the few the KT-1 Wong Bee turboprop trainer, and are trained by the familiar Royal Australian Air Force Roulette Team. Do not under estimate the slow moving prop aircraft, as these planes are able to whip out some neat moves at slow speed unable to be achieved by jet aircraft.
Other planes that might get your attention is the US Marines V-22 Osprey. Able to take off like a helicopter and cruise like a plane, watch as the Osprey tilts her main rotors as it transits into the various modes in flight. Also in town is the Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet and the American F-16C from Misawa, Japan.
Many thanks to RSAF for arranging for the invitation and the Ambassadors from 807 and 817 Sqn for the hospitality during our time there.
Watch this site for more Singapore Airshow 14 updates.