Sunday, September 1, 2013
Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) marks 45th anniversary with parade at Tengah Air Base
Notable by its absence was one long-serving RSAF weapon: the 35mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns from 160 Squadron which appear to have lost their place of honour at the milestone parade with no replacement announced. :-)
The 35mm Oerlikon's no-show was more than made up by the parade backdrop - imagine a line-up wall-to-wall RSAF warplanes, combat helicopters, UAVs and air defence systems for engaging all manner of air threats and for executing a full spectrum of missions. This backdrop comprised one example of every major weapon type in the RSAF's inventory, displayed fully armed and hand-polished for review by Chief of Air Force Major-General Hoo Cher Mou and the RSAF top guns.
A low level flypast (done twice!) by F-15SG Strike Eagles and F-16D+s may have helped rouse residents in western Singapore enjoying their Sunday morning snooze to the sound of freedom while air force vehicles that paraded as a Mobile Column were a much anticipated point of interest. *grin* (Click here for the guide to MID number plates)
Some takeaways from the event:
1. It was evident that older machines such as the C-130 Hercules tactical transport and Super Puma medium-left helicopters had been upgraded to keep them fighting fit. With ample unused airframe flying hours, upgrades such as the addition of defensive aids should enhance platform survivability in contested airspace.
2. The total absence of trainers served as a thought-driver (at least to me) which points to how Singapore's air force has overcome airspace constraints by spreading its training network worldwide, with flying training done unilaterally or in concert with established air arms.
3. Turning to heartware, the strong turnout by community leaders and students from the Youth Flying Club is a positive indication that the RSAF does not organise a parade for the sake of staging one, but has outreach with the community apparently embedded as part of the whole parade planning process. It shows the air force understands links with the community are key to gaining people's support/understanding for air force activities, particularly flying activities whose noise level and duration can test the patience and tolerance of non aviation-inclined Singaporeans.
4. Still on heartware, CAF mentioned that the RSAF will launch is Facebook page in due course. This may signal a sustained effort is underway to inform and educate netizens about RSAF activities. Social media is not all Facebook, as media professionals would know, so one hopes AOD planners will eventually add more tools to the RSAF's social media outreach options in addition to Facebook.
5. And here's a snippet that may interest collectors of Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) badges and paraphernalia. The RSAF will soon issue unit patches for the left upper sleeve of their blue Number 4 fatigues.
Finally, Happy RSAF Day to all RSAF personnel. Many thanks to all who made the RSAF 45th Anniversary Parade unfold smoothly and to AOD for allowing the access.
Posted by David Boey at 4:28 PM