Royal Australian Navy and Republic of Singapore Air Force Enhance Joint Interoperability

Royal Australian Navy HMAS Adelaide has provided a platform for the Republic of Singapore Air Force CH-47 helicopter crews to qualify and land on the RAN’s largest vessels, HMA Ships Adelaide and Canberra. The deck landing qualifications were conducted over two days off the coast of Queensland, where Adelaide is conducting a range of amphibious and aviation training exercises. The Singaporean CH-47 heavy-lift helicopter crews, which are permanently based at Oakey in Queensland, communicated with Adelaide’s flight control room and were guided by the ship’s aviation team on the flight deck. The timing of the deck qualifications also coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Singapore Armed Forces training in Australia.

Commander Air HMAS Adelaide, Commander Leon Volz said,”The qualifications would provide significant benefits and boost overall combined capability for the Australian and Singapore Defence Forces. This is a great opportunity to provide interoperability between both the Singaporean Air Force air crew and ourselves,” Commander Volz said. Gaining these qualifications allows the RSAF crews to operate with Adelaide, with Canberra and also with HMAS Choules, which will provide a significant capability enhancer between both our Defence forces. So when we’re both operating in the region, for example, then we can actually cross-deck and gain more experience in the way that both Defence forces operate in the maritime aviation environment.”

A Republic of Singapore Air Force CH-47 Chinook helicopter lands onboard HMAS Adelaide during Exercise SEA WADER 2020, off the coast of Townsville, Queensland.

Commanding Officer HMAS Adelaide, Captain Jonathan Ley said” Qualifying Singaporean Air Force personnel to operate their CH-47 aircraft on Navy’s amphibious vessels extended the shared history of cooperation between the two nations. Singapore’s CH-47 aircraft worked alongside Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment during the 2020 bushfire emergency in Victoria, so to have that combined capability at sea is an important element as we again move into the high-risk emergency season,” Captain Ley said.

HMAS Adelaide (L01) is the second of two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The Canberra-class design is based on the warship Juan Carlos I, built by Navantia for the Spanish Navy. Construction of the ship started at Navantia’s Spanish shipyard with steel-cutting in February 2010. The ship was laid down in February 2011, and launched on 4 July 2012. Delivery to Australia for fitting out at BAE Systems Australia’s facilities in Victoria was scheduled for 2013, but did not occur until early 2014. Despite construction delays and predictions the ship was commissioned in December 2015.

A Republic of Singapore Airforce CH-47 Chinook helicopter lands onboard HMAS Adelaide during Exercise SEA WADER 2020, off the coast of Townsville, Queensland.