This weekend, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will hold a series of aerial displays tied to the celebration of the city-state’s National Day. Though the focus will largely be on the broader story of Singapore’s independence, the event is also part of a string of commemorative activities planned for 2018 as the RSAF marks its 50th anniversary.
As I have been noting in these pages, the RSAF is commemorating its golden jubilee this year with a series of engagements planned, including an airshow, a parade, exhibits, and flypasts held in different parts of the city-state (See: “Singapore’s Air Force at 50”). Key events have included the 2018 Singapore Airshow as well as planned RSAF50 celebrations in designated “Heartland locations” as well.
Over the weekend, the spotlight will be on the RSAF anniversary commemoration again. As part of Singapore’s National Day celebrations, the RSAF will be conducting a series of aerial displays off the waters of Marina South on August 11 and August 12.
According to Singapore’s defense ministry (MINDEF), the aerial displays, which will be made open to the public, will feature 25 aircraft, with two aerial display shows per day at 10am and 2:30pm, each lasting about 30 minutes and featuring three segments: the sequential flypast; the helicopter aerial display and the fighter aerial display; and the finale bomb burst.
The shows will feature a few notable firsts, including the inaugural aerial display by two AH-64D helicopters and the first display of an unmanned aircraft – the Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Other events include a formation of a F-15SG decked in RSAF50 livery and two F-16Cs executing high speed aerial maneuvers.
Ahead of the displays, Singapore officials including Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen previewed the developments on the morning of August 7 at Marina Barrage and interacted with current and former RSAF personnel and families.
Following the displays over the weekend, other aspects of RSAF anniversary commemorations are expected to continue through 2018, including ongoing cultural and education initiatives as well as the RSAF50 Parade on September 1 in conjunction with the actual date of the RSAF anniversary itself. Previously, indications were that the parade would be presided over by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as the guest of honor, and will have several activities including a parade march-past and a flypast, with several highlights including the first public appearance of the multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft.