NDP 2023: RSAF puts on thrilling show; President Halimah reviews guard of honour , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

NDP 2023: RSAF puts on thrilling show; President Halimah reviews guard of honour

All eyes were on the skies for a display of precise choreography and thrilling aerobatic manoeuvres by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) at the National Day Parade.

It was a fitting tribute to the nation by the RSAF, and a way to commemorate its 55th anniversary, or RSAF55, this year.

Part of the parade and ceremony segment, the aerial display followed President Halimah Yacob’s arrival at the Padang, which drew loud cheers from the 27,000-strong audience.

Attendees were earlier treated to the daredevil exploits of the eight Red Lions skydivers, who landed at the Padang without a hitch.

As reviewing officer for the parade, Madam Halimah, 68, inspected the five guard of honour contingents, stopping occasionally to chat with some of the smartly uniformed servicemen and women.

President Halimah Yacob stopped occasionally to chat with some of the servicemen and women while inspecting the five guard of honour contingents. ST PHOTO: RYAN CHIONG

As a mark of respect, four 25-pounder howitzer guns fired a 21-gun salute to honour the President.

This is Madam Halimah’s last parade as president, as her six-year term will end in September. She first attended NDP as a freshman MP for Jurong GRC in 2002. As Singapore’s eighth president, Madam Halimah presided over her first parade in 2018.

This is Madam Halimah Yacob’s last parade as president as her six-year term will end in September. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

While everyone sang the National Anthem, a CH-47SD Chinook helicopter carried the state flag over the field, escorted by two AH-64D Apache attack helicopters.

Then, in an enhanced salute to the nation, five F-16D+ fighter aircraft performed the bomb burst manoeuvre. As they parted ways, three F-15SG fighters did a fly-through across the Padang.

Three F-15SG fighters flying over Marina Bay during the National Day Parade. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The three-minute enhanced aerial display, which followed the feu de joie celebratory gunfire by the guard of honour contingents, kicked off with the fixed-wing formation fly-past.

The star of the formation was the RSAF’s largest aircraft, the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), which led the aircraft formation. The MRTT flew above the Padang, accompanied by four F-16D+ fighter aircraft – two at each wing.

Next came the helicopter formation fly-past, which featured the CH-47F Heavy-Lift helicopter and the H225M Medium-Lift helicopter, which was making its National Day debut.

A CH-47F helicopter took the lead in the “Vic” formation, with two H225Ms flying diagonally behind and parallel to each other.

The crowd’s anticipation stepped up a notch as a pair of F-15SG fighter aircraft then appeared in the sky to perform a dual high-G turn.

Many spectators craned their necks as the aircrew of both fighter aircraft executed a sharp combat turn in synchrony.

They had to withstand a high gravitational force of up to nine times the force of gravity to execute this manoeuvre.

The RSAF reserved its most breathtaking spectacle for the end – a cross turn and vertical climb manoeuvre performed for the first time at the NDP – much to the delight of the crowd, who were wowed by the flawless coordination of the daring moves.

Two F-16D+ fighter aircraft flew side by side, and then crossed each other’s flight path before they reached the Padang, flying off in opposite directions.

Meanwhile, an F-15SG aircraft came in the opposite direction, flying towards the intersection of the F-16D+ flight paths. After crossing the intersection point, it pulled upwards in a vertical climb. It was not just a sight to behold, but an aural experience too, as the sound of the aircraft engines pierced the air with deafening roars.

Spectators watching the state flag fly-past during the National Day Parade at the Padang on Aug 9. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

F-15 weapon systems officer Captain Dillon Foo, who was in charge of planning the dual high-G turn and the cross turn and vertical climb manoeuvre, said that there was “zero margin for error” as the aircraft came in close proximity with one another. He called it an honour to fly the special F-15SG, which had a decorated tail flash that commemorates the RSAF55 at this year’s parade.

It reflects the RSAF55 tagline, “Defending our Skies, Securing our Future”.

Captain Foo said: “It was a symbolic moment to carry this statement into the Padang as we celebrate the nation’s and RSAF’s birthdays. It reminded me of our commitment to protect our loved ones into the future.”

national day paradeNATIONAL DAY PARADE 2023RSAFministry of defence