The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has started taking delivery of the CH-47F Heavy Lift Helicopter, which will progressively replace the RSAF’s older Chinooks that have been in service since 1994. The initial delivery of the CH-47F to the RSAF Helicopter Detachment in Oakey, Australia, will enable the RSAF to leverage the vast airspace and terrain for more realistic training. The opportunity for the RSAF to train in Australia is a reflection of the close and longstanding defence relationship with Australia.
The CH-47F is an advanced helicopter with a fully integrated, digital cockpit management system, and advanced cargo-handling capabilities. These features, coupled with capabilities such as an enhanced self-protection suite and Satellite Communication (SATCOM) system. The CH-47F helicopters will complement the RSAF’s fleet of helicopters to provide the SAF with a robust heli-lift capability for a wide range of operations including Search and Rescue (SAR), Aeromedical Evacuation (AME) and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
The Republic of Singapore Air Force currently has 10 CH-47SDs and five older CH-47D transport helicopters in its inventory that have been in operation since 1994. The Chinooks are operated by 127 Squadron at Sembawang (Singapore), with a detachment of five Chinooks at Oakey (Queensland, Australia) for training. Singapore had announced in November 2016 that it was acquiring an unspecified number of CH-47Fs under a Direct Commercial Sales contract with Boeing to replace the Air Force’s fleet of older Chinooks.
The Singaporean Chinook pictured in Delaware has a markedly different equipment fit from standard U.S. Army CH-47Fs. It was fitted with a lengthened nosecone for a radar and enlarged fuel tanks on the side sponsons. The helo was also equipped with an electro-optical/infrared turret below its nosecone. What appears to be a satellite communications antenna can be seen on the top of the aircraft’s fuselage. The origins of these are unknown, although the latter is likely to be a product of the Israeli company Elbit Systems.