July 7, 2022

New F-16 manoeuvre involving two jets at close proximity among aerial display highlights at NDP

By brit

SINGAPORE – He is a commercial pilot, but on Aug 9, Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) (NS) Ong Swee Chuan will be navigating an F-16 fighter jet through a challenging manoeuvre that will make its bow at this year’s National Day Parade (NDP).

He will be one of two Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-16 pilots who will be engaged in a turn at close proximity to each other while undergoing high g-force (gravitational force equivalent) before doing a vertical climb.

Such a manoeuvre had been previously done only by a single jet at other NDPs.

LTC (NS) Ong, 50, on Tuesday (July 5) shared with the media some of the challenges he will face.

He said: “It’s not an easy task because under high g-force, we cannot move our heads… At the same time, we got to strain against the g-force, because if we don’t, all our blood will flow to the legs and we will black out. We have to do that while flying in formation.”

Since he left the RSAF about eight years ago and became a commercial pilot, LTC (NS) Ong spends 40 days a year as an operationally ready national serviceman (NSman) to maintain proficiency and currency as a fighter pilot.

He began training for this year’s NDP in April, and the father of two is looking forward to taking part in this year’s parade.

He said: “As this year is NS55 (55 years of national service), being part of the celebrations of the nation’s independence is a pleasure.”

The RSAF will be reprising some of its crowd favourite elements this year, including the state flag fly-past and fighter island flypast segments in the heartland and the bomb burst at the heart of the celebrations in the Marina Bay area.

A total of 15 aircraft will be involved in the celebrations on the day, including a C-130, eight Apache and Chinook helicopters, and six F-16 jets.

A C-130 aircraft will also be involved in the Red Lions parachutists’ free fall on Aug 7 in the heartland.

LTC Stanley Selva, 47, who is the deputy commander of this year’s air participation committee, said the experience has been quite challenging as most of this year’s aerial demonstrations are happening on a single day, unlike recent years.

But despite the challenges, LTC Stanley, who is also this year’s “mother goose”, or the ground controller, said it will be fulfilling when everything comes together.

He added: “It’s an opportunity to show the rest of Singapore what type of equipment RSAF operates. We find these are good opportunities to show our new equipment up close for the rest of Singapore to see.”

Among the highlights will be the RSAF’s new Chinook helicopter – the CH-47F – which will be on display for the first time.

It will be seen during the helocast display during the Total Defence Display segment when naval divers jump from the helicopter into the waters of Marina Bay.