Republic of Singapore
FULL SPECTRUM . INTEGRATED . READY
Special Edition 2015
Safeguarding Our Skies Defending Our Future
Special edition / 2015 AFN MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
Pg 3 Pg 4 – 5
Air Combat Command My Air Force Story by: MWO Bhonesveran
Pg 6 – 9
Air Defence & operations Command My Air Force Story by: LTA (RET) Patrick Peh CFC Dexter Goh
Chairman COL Lim Kok Siong
Members LTC Cindy Chua LTC Lily Foo LTC Koh Boon Tih LTC Tan Giam LTC Michael Wong Ms Heng Ai Buay Ms Liew Lily Ms Loh Seok Chen
Pg 10 – 13
Air force training Command My Air Force Story by: MAJ (RET) Simon Tan 3SG Tu Weiqi
Pg 14 – 17
Revamped Gallery of the Air Force Museum
Pg 18 – 21
Air power generation Command My Air Force Story by: ME4 Cheng An Qi 3SG (NS) Daniel Tan
Pg 22 – 25
participation Command My Air Force Story by: LTC Lim Ee Ling MAJ Adrian Quek
Pg 26 – 29
uav Command My Air Force Story by: ME4 Seah Quan Meng LTA Sheena Ng
Pg 30 – 31
HQ RSAF My Air Force Story by: LTC (RET) Prasad Kumar Menon
Editors SLTC Christopher Chew LTC Andy Ang
Assistant Editor Ms Lee Xiao Wen
Staff Writers & Photographers CPL Benson Sim LCP Chan Qi Yan
The opinions and views herein are those expressed by the writers and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) or the Ministry of Defence. The material in Air Force News is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without the written consent of the RSAF.
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Safeguarding Our Skies, Defending Our Future
Safeguarding Our Skies Defending Our Future
he RSAF celebrated the nation's birthday with Singaporeans as our country commemorated 50 years of independence. The Black Knights were specially stood up for the occasion, and performed a heart-stopping 22-manoeuvre aerial display over the Jubilee Weekend. In addition, 50 aircraft comprising fighter jets, helicopters and transport aircraft executed manoeuvres for a 50,000-strong crowd clad in red and white at the Padang for this year's National Day Parade. Despite our increased participation in the NDP and SAF50 celebrations, we successfully organised the SAF50 Parade and SAF50 Dinner events, while continuing to fulfil our operational and training requirements. We participated in high-key exercises such as Exercise Wallaby, Exercise Cope Tiger and Exercise Red Flag â€” Nellis. We dazzled international audiences with our aerial performance at the AVALON and LIMA airshows. We deployed at short notice for several Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Search and Rescue/Locate operations, including the search for AirAsia Flight QZ8501, flood relief efforts in Kelantan, firefighting operations in Chiang Mai, and earthquake relief efforts in Nepal. We achieved Full Operational Capability for our Hermes 450 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. As we celebrate our 47th Anniversary, we pay tribute to those who have come before us and those who continue to be committed to the organisation and the defence of Singapore. We salute our airmen and women, who exemplify professionalism, operational readiness, and dedication. Together, we will continue to safeguard our skies and defend our future. 3
MWO Bhonesveran Air Crew Specialist W
hen I first joined the SAF in June 1982 as an Aircrew Man (now known as the Air Crew Specialist), I certainly did not expect to stay on for the next 33 years. Before the expiry of my first six-year contract, I decided to stay on as an ACS and continue serving the Air Force. It was the right decision and one I have never regretted as the journey has been filled with wonderful memories. Throughout my career, I attended several courses, both local and overseas, to broaden and strengthen my knowledge and abilities as a C-130 Loadmaster and KC-135 Boom MWO (Then 1WO) Bhonesveran (back row, 3rd from right) with his fellow detachment mates Operator. During these courses, during Operation Blue Orchid 2004 there were several firsts for me and Boom Operator to spearhead the PG detachment for the RSAF. In 1995, I attended the C-130 Loadmaster programme. In addition, I worked with the US KC-135 Tactical Instructor Course at Little Rock Air Force counterparts, where I had the chance to work on their Base, Arkansas, USA and achieved the Distinguished aircraft and acquire all the relevant training, knowledge, Graduate (DG) Award. In 1998, I was among the first batch skills and operational capabilities required for our own of ACSes to attend the KC-135 Initial Boom Operator KC-135s. These KC-135s were planned to be delivered qualification course and later in 1999, the KC-135 Boom by Boeing in 2000 after their refurbishment in Tinker Air Operator Instructor course at Altus Air Force Base, Force Base, Oklahoma, USA. Oklahoma, USA. I emerged DG for both the courses. The three awards I achieved were the first to be awarded to Upon my return to Singapore in 2000, I was posted a Singaporean trainee, and the first for the RSAF. Upon to 112 SQN, which was in the setting-up phase. In the completion of these courses, I was posted to Peace midst of this arduous task, the SQN was called upon for Guardian (PG) Detachment at McConnell Air Force a challenging mission â€” the Aeromedical Evacuation Base, Kansas, USA for the next two years as an RSAF (AME) for the SQ006 civil airliner crash in Taipei, which 4
saw three Singaporean casualties. As the KC-135 was not equipped or designed to be an AME aircraft, we had to consult aeromedical doctors and Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineers. With my experience as a C-130 Loadmaster, we reconfigured the KC-135 into an AME aircraft. The mission was successfully executed with all three casualties brought home safely. In 2004, when a huge earthquake hit the Indian Ocean, and the resulting tsunami affected our neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India, Operation Flying Eagle was activated. The RSAF was tasked to ferry the then United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, and his entourage from Medan, Indonesia to all the tsunami-affected countries. This was to give him a first-hand update on the situation. To carry out this mission, the KC-135 was selected for its speed and endurance.
Then CAF, MG Ng Chee Khern, presenting a Letter of Appreciation to MWO (then 1WO) Bhonesveran for his participation in Operation Blue Orchid 2008
MWO Bhonesveran with his wife, Mrs Vasanthi, and their children, Jayraj and Reqha Trixie
In consultation with ST Engineers, we converted the configuration of the KC135 to that of a civil airliner, complete with airline seats, to ferry our guests for this mission. They were impressed with our professionalism and warm hospitality. I remember Mr Annan saying, “This is the very first time my wife and I have sat in a military plane, and we are really honoured.” I was subsequently involved in various large-scale operations undertaken by the SQN, such as Operation Blue Orchid, a multinational coalition effort in the reconstruction of post-war Iraq. There were challenges operating in a desert environment with extreme temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius. However, the SQN achieved all day and night missions successfully and safely.
In 2011, I relinquished my appointment as a KC-135 Chief Boom Operator and was posted to HQ Air Combat Command as a Staff Officer. All these experiences has made these 33 years in the RSAF a memorable and enriching journey for me. The journey would not have been possible without the support of my commanders and peers who have given me support and encouragement along the way. The RSAF, too, has given me opportunities and responsibilities few have had the chance to undertake. I’m looking forward to serving for many more years to come. Lastly, I would like to thank my beautiful wife and wonderful children who have never failed to support me in all my endeavours, and were understanding of the times I had to spend away from home.
LTA (RET) Patrick Peh Air Warfare Officer (GBAD) M
y story in 160 SQN began back in 1970 when I was selected by the SAF to attend the 35mm Twin-Barrel Oerlikon Anti-Aircraft (AA) Gun Course in Switzerland. In order to qualify for the course, I was put through a series of selection tests and interviews, which eventually shortlisted three SAF Officers from more than a hundred applicants. The other two Officers who attended the course with me were CPT Quah Seng Kee and LTA Chng Wei Cheong. We were led by MAJ Surjit Singh, who later became our Commanding Officer in then 160 Battalion. It was winter when we arrived in Zurich, Switzerland in February 1970. It was a bitterly cold winter as I was used to Singaporeâ€™s tropical weather. Lasting a little over a month, it was a short crash course where we had to learn the basic operations of the guns and achieve fire readiness. The course was to culminate in a technical live firing in one of the mountain ranges. The original accommodation, a Swiss military camp site, was affected by an avalanche just one week before we were due to go. Fortunately, we were spared from the catastrophe. Arrangements were quickly made to conduct the live firing at another range. We conducted our live firing successfully there, and I was impressed by the firepower and the accuracy of the 35mm AA Gun.
LTA (RET) Peh (centre) with his course mates in Zurich, Switzerland
LTA (RET) Peh was commissioned at the 3rd Officer Cadet Commissioning Parade on 17 Nov 68
Upon successful completion of the course, we returned to Singapore and were placed under the command of then Singapore Air Defence Command (SADC) Headquarters. Our main task was to prepare the training materials for the operations of the 35mm AA Gun and conduct the 1st Commanders’ Course. It was a daunting and challenging task because we had to prepare the materials without the physical gun, while busy settling the manpower, administrative and logistics requirements of establishing the new 160 Battalion that will operate the 35mm AA Gun. Finally, on 1 Jun 70, 160 Battalion was officially formed under SADC and located at Seletar East Camp. The guns soon arrived in July 1970. We were very excited and enthusiastic to receive the guns, which were impressive in both size and performance. I was appointed the Course Commander of the 1st Commanders’ Course, conducted from 16 Nov 70 to 29 Jan 71, and was assisted by a team of advisers from the Dutch Army to teach us the skills of tactical deployment. With the graduation of the 1st batch of Officers and Non-commissioned Officers from the Commanders’ Course, we started to grow the size of our AA family.
LTA (RET) Peh working on the 35mm AA Gun
After the 1st Commanders’ Course, I also held several other appointments such as Motor Transport Officer and Battery Commander during my days in 160 SQN. I gained a wealth of experience from these appointments, and forged many friendships. I eventually left the SAF in 1973. However, that did not spell the end of my story. I continued to return to 160 SQN as a reservist during my National Service years. I also came back to attend many of the significant events such as Anniversary celebrations and Change of Command Parades.
LTA (RET) Peh (front row, 2nd from left) with his course mates at the Oerlikon factory in Zurich, Switzerland
I was fortunate to have chosen Air Defence Artillery as my vocation in the RSAF. While it was a small family compared to other vocations, it created close comradeship across the different generations throughout the 45 years of our history. I am happy and exceedingly proud to be part of the 160 SQN family. I am sure the SQN will continue to build on what we have and continue to defend Singapore's skies in the years to come.
CFC Dexter Goh Air Defence Weapon Operator “Hotel to Magnum. Load Missile Now.” These were the words that continuously ran through my mind for the few weeks leading up to D-Day of the RSAF’s I-HAWK Surface-to-Air Missile System’s live firing exercise. I was fortunate to be selected to be part of one of the Missile Loading Teams. Unlike most of the regular Officers and Specialists, this would be my first time going for an overseas military exercise. I was very excited and looked forward to the trip as it was an opportunity for me to witness the lethality of the I-HAWK system after hearing the many stories shared by those who had attended previous live firings. The exercise team was made up of personnel from different CFC Goh (centre) loading the I-Hawk missile during Flaming Arrow Flights who had expertise in different areas. Due to the Challenge 2015 different backgrounds of the personnel, we underwent an individual component training to fine-tune our skills and proficiency before coming together for the combined system training. As our work-up training was frequently interrupted by bad weather, we had to activate our spare days to come back for training. It was taxing for us as we had to reschedule our leave and off days, but the sacrifices were worth it as the practice perfected our drills and we were able to execute the exercise successfully and safely. Soon, the day for the exercise came. Upon reaching the deployment site, there were several difficulties but the team managed the situation well and overcame the challenges. The crew was highly motivated and it felt as though nothing could stand in our way.
CFC Goh (front row, 4th from left) with his SQN during Flaming Arrow Challenge 2015
The day arrived when the first missile would be fired. My team, comprising two senior Air Defence Systems Specialists as our Missile Supervisors, carried out our tasks effectively and in a timely manner. Our first missile was launched and took out the threat successfully. Besides achieving mission success during the exercise, I also forged stronger bonds with my course mates and my superiors.
CFC Goh (2nd from left) during Flaming Arrow Challenge 2015
The Commanders took time to engage us to ensure that the live firing could be carried out successfully. I felt a deep sense of pride when CAF, MG Hoo Cher Mou, presented the exercise badges to the entire crew in recognition of our contributions to the exercise. The bond and camaraderie shared among one another was truly worth reminiscing even as I penned down my thoughts for this article. Truly, it is my honour and privilege to be part of the live firing exercise and 163 SQN. Above The Best!
MAJ (RET) Simon Tan Senior C3 Instructor H
aving served in the RSAF from July 1972 to date, I have had the honour and privilege to witness the evolution of the Air Force from its humble beginnings to the present 3rd Generation Air Force. When I first joined the RSAF as an Air Traffic Control (ATC) Officer, my only knowledge of ATC was the powerful voice that comes through the flight headset that provided instructions to Pilots. I was posted to Tengah Air Base (TAB) in 1973 to join the 1st Basic Air Traffic Control Officer (BATCO) Course. The course was facilitated by both local ATC Officers as well as seconded and contracted British Officers. In retrospect, the ATC training I received then was rudimentary compared to the training system we have now, and it is indeed a giant leap forward for the RSAF. From pushing small toy planes and vehicles on 4 x 8 foot wooden planks painted and decorated to look like Tengah Air Base, we now have state-of-theart, computerised C3 simulator 10
MAJ (RET) Tan guiding a trainee on the fundamentals of Air Traffic Control
systems that closely mimic the operational systems and operating environment. The C3 simulators have significantly narrowed the transitional gap between the school and the operational units, showing the emphasis that the RSAF places on training development, just as it does for operational development.
After commissioning, I was posted to Base Operations Centre in TAB and then to ATC SQN (205 SQN today). In 1985, after acquiring TABâ€™s control position ratings, I was posted to HQ RSAF. It was the posting to HQ RSAF that gave me more opportunities to broaden my understanding of the organisationâ€™s mission.
MAJ (RET) Tan (far back) with his C3 School colleagues during the Chinese New Year Celebrations at Geylang East Home for the Aged
As a Staff Officer, I was presented with opportunities to staff papers, which allowed me to understand the strategic development of the RSAF. It was during this period that I saw the rapid build-up of RSAF capabilities in the 1980s as it progressed to the 2nd Generation Air Force. In 1993, as OC Operations in 203 SQN, my experiences in the air base and in HQ came in handy as the role in 203 SQN was an expanded role encompassing the provision of control to aircraft departing and arriving from all the RSAF air bases, as well as working jointly with civil aviation.
Upon retirement from military service, I continued to serve as a NUSAF (non-uniformed) personnel, and in 1998 I was posted to Systems Command Training School as an instructor. In 2009, as part of the 3rd Gen RSAF transformation, Air Force School was restructured to what is now known as Air Force Training Command to provide dedicated focus on training and people development efforts. I am immensely proud to be part of the RSAF's transformation from its humble beginnings to the eminent position it enjoys among the experienced air forces today.
MAJ (RET) Tan (front row, 6th from left) with his Air Traffic Control SQN (then known as Flying Support SQN) in the 1980s
3SG Tu Weiqi Air Force Technician M
y Air Force Story began when I was enlisted into service in the morning of 13 Aug 13. I vividly remember reporting to Central Manpower Base and bidding farewell to my parents. I was filled with mixed feelings as I did not have any idea what lay ahead. Little did I expect that my two years of National Service (NS) would be such a meaningful and enriching journey in my life. After completing my Basic Military Training in Pulau Tekong, I was vocated as an Air Force Technician and received my vocational training at Air Force Training Command (AFTC). During the training, I learnt about the importance of upholding the RSAF Core Values and taking personal responsibility of the duties that were entrusted to me. I have matured and developed resilience, and constantly strive for excellence in my conduct. My perseverance paid off as I was awarded the Certificate of Merit for my achievements in the course. My next phase in the RSAF was as an assistant instructor in AFTC. I felt a sense of pride as I was the only one in my cohort to be given the opportunity to serve as an instructor. This was also extremely exciting, since I was able to share my experiences and help mould the behaviour of the new recruits who were posted to AFTC for training in my role as an assistant instructor.
3SG Tu (in blue) with his trainees during the Basic Military Training vocational graduation parade
3SG Tu (in blue) marching with his trainees during the Basic Military Training vocational graduation parade
One of the defining moments of my NS in the RSAF happened when I volunteered to be a colours party orderly for the National Day and SAF Day Parades in 2014. Since young, I have watched National Day Parades on television, and I have always aspired to be part of the celebration. While the training was tough, I was not deterred, and this role instilled discipline and regimental standards in me. My appointment as the Chairman of the AFTC Full-Time National Serviceman (NSF) Council was another significant milestone in my NS journey. I felt motivated as I had the opportunity to voice the concerns of the NSFs and contribute to the betterment of my peers. Throughout my tenure, the NSF Council organised many activities that helped to foster a common identity and enrich the NSFs' journey in AFTC. In the course of serving the NSF Council, I have also enhanced my leadership skills.
3SG Tu (left) with LTA Royston Lim and ME1 Ong Meng Leong during National Day Parade 2014
By the end of my NS term, I am grateful for the many friends who have supported and encouraged me. I am also thankful that the Air Force has given me many learning opportunities and developed my potential that would help me in my future endeavours. Above All!
COMD AFTC, COL Benedict Ang, presenting 3SG Tu with his Certificate of Appointment as the President of the AFTC NSF Council
3SG Tu (2nd row, far right) with AFTC personnel during the 6th AFTC WOSA, ME and DXO Learning Day 2015
The A-4SU Super Skyhawk static display
The Alouette III static display
The 35mm Oerlikon Anti-Aircraft Gun static display
p m a v e R
GALLERY OF THE d e p m AIR FORCE MUSEUM The Air Force Museum was first established at Changi Air Base on 1 Sep 88. It later moved to its current location next to Paya Lebar Air Base, and was declared open by then CDF, LG Lim Chuan Poh, on 22 Mar 01. Twentyseven years after it was first launched, the indoor gallery of the Air Force Museum was revamped. The revamped indoor gallery will showcase the RSAF's heritage as well as its current capabilities. Displays and infographics of the RSAF's retired platforms and uniforms allow visitors to understand the RSAF's history while interactive displays and simulators allow them to experience the RSAF's 3rd Generation capabilities. The Air Force Museum also features an outdoor gallery with static displays of the RSAF's retired platforms. Join us on a tour as we take you through the different areas of the Air Force Museum.
Gallery A — Taking Flight The displays chronicle the history of the RSAF's developments, from the urgent build-up of the Singapore Air Defence Command to today’s 3rd Generation RSAF. It gives context to the various displays, recounts milestone events that the RSAF has achieved, and explains how the highly integrated and task-oriented command structure of the RSAF today came about.
The RSAF's previous uniforms and roundels on display
The different milestones of the RSAF over the years
Gallery B — Scaling New Heights
Gallery A of the Air Force Museum The RSAF's Commands and SQNs
The six-Command structure is explained, demonstrating how the RSAF works in a highly responsive fashion to handle a full spectrum of missions from peace to war. The gallery uses scale models to highlight the advanced manned and unmanned platforms employed by the RSAF to form a highly networked fighting system. This gallery includes game simulators featuring various vocations in the RSAF to give visitors an interactive experience of what the RSAF's airmen and women do to defend Singapore’s skies.
The vocation game simulator
Models of the RSAF's assets
Gallery C — Beyond Safeguarding Our Skies The RSAF’s Operations Other Than War are introduced here. A series of interviews recount the RSAF’s involvement in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions and Peace Support Operations. The mock-up of the interior of the C-130 closely mimics that of the actual transport aircraft. Snap away with your cameras and fool your friends that you've been on the Hercules!
Among the uniforms displayed is one from Operation Blue Orchid (Air), a multinational reconstruction effort in Iraq which the RSAF participated in
The mock-up of the interior of the C-130 transport aircraft
Gallery D — Above All
Gallery E — Our Air Force Story
Gallery D focuses on the RSAF's airmen and women, their achievements and development opportunities within the organisation.
This gallery allows visitors to learn more about career opportunities within the RSAF by sharing the stories and experiences of the RSAF's airmen and women. The basic flight simulator, jointly developed by the RSAF and Singapore Polytechnic, provides visitors a thrilling first-hand experience of piloting.
One of the RSAF uniforms on display
The basic flight simulator game
Come down to the Air Force Museum to experience for yourself the exciting new additions! Location: 400 Airport Road Singapore 534234 Operating hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8.30 am — 5 pm Admission: Free Contact: 6461 8507 17
ME4 Cheng An Qi Air Force Engineer I
t has always been my dream to build an engineering career in an established and respectable organisation. The RSAF, being a technologically advanced, highly disciplined and professional organisation, became the natural choice when I was ready to embark on my professional career. I joined the RSAF as an Air Force Engineer in an Air Base Civil Engineering (ACE) SQN immediately after graduating with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Nanyang Technological University in 2013. In fact, I was the first female with an engineering degree to be recruited directly to be an Air Force Engineer in the ACE community. You might be surprised that I did not take the conventional path of a typical AFE. I realised that as an engineer in the RSAF, it is not just about working on advanced aircraft platforms or sophisticated weapon systems. There is also an exciting and challenging engineering career in the management and operations of the operational infrastructure and critical ground systems in the air bases. These are the key tasks of the ACE SQNs in order to generate air power for the RSAF. I was excited
ME4 Cheng (centre) conducting airfield recovery checks with ME3 Ang Kok Hoo and ME1 Ang Chin Siong in Sembawang Air Base
by the important and challenging tasks performed by the ACE SQNs, and I looked forward to an enriching career in this specialised area. In 2013, after completing a yearlong training, I was posted to 506 SQN in Sembawang Air Base as the Officer-In-Charge of the Infrastructure & System Recovery Flight. I am responsible for ensuring the readiness of airfield platforms and critical infrastructure in Sembawang Air Base. I lead and supervise a team to ensure that all these ground infrastructure and operational systems in the base are
working optimally to support flying operations. I am frequently asked whether I am disadvantaged working in a predominantly male ACE community. The answer is a firm no. The ACE community, as with the rest of the RSAF, is made up of professionals who value competency and hard work, and does not discriminate by gender. It is the quality of work and a positive attitude that will gain you respect and credibility. In the short one year in the SQN, I have grown in my confidence and resilience when handling complex and challenging
tasks. During Eagle Challenge 15, I led a team to compete against the best from the other air bases in a segment of the Infrastructure & System Recovery challenge. The standards were very high and although we did not win, I was proud of the fighting spirit, team work and professionalism displayed by my team. Even though my journey in the RSAF is only in its infancy, I have found it to be extremely meaningful and fulfilling, both professionally and personally. I look forward to the expanded leadership roles that await me in my career. I am truly blessed to be able to work alongside all the dedicated professionals of the ACE community. Air Power starts with us! With Us, You Launch!
ME4 Cheng (back row, 5th from right) with her SQN personnel
Did You Know? The Air Base Civil Engineering Squadrons comprising 505 SQN, 506 SQN, 507 SQN and 508 SQN in Tengah Air Base, Sembawang Air Base, Paya Lebar Air Base and Changi Air Base conduct Airfield Damage Recovery (ADR) to enable the air bases to operate even after an enemy attack. Their responsibilities include rapid runway repairs, rapid unexploded ordnance disposal, installation of landing aids, and restoration of essential facilities such as power, fuel, and underground communication lines. The ACE SQNs also support air base operations in building and infrastructure maintenance and airfield operations such as refuelling, airfield sweeping and aviation support operations.
3SG (NS) Daniel Tan Air Operations Specialist B
eing a young Singaporean with huge aspirations, I had hoped to serve the nation as a Pilot in the RSAF. Due to my medical condition, however, I was instead posted to 208 SQN as an Air Operations Specialist after my ab-initio training at Air Force Training Command. Two years on, I must say that being able to contribute as a proud member of the RSAF is a truly memorable and character-building experience like no other. As an Air Operations Specialist in 208 SQNâ€™s Base Command Post Support Flight, I was very fortunate to have contributed to the success of several high-key events, exercises and challenges such as the Singapore Airshow 2014, Exercise Bersama Lima, and the annual Eagle Challenge. I was also thankful to have had the opportunity to volunteer as a "spotter" on board the RSAF's C-130 transport aircraft as we responded swiftly to the call for aid in the search and locate efforts for the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 and the AirAsia Flight QZ8501. These valuable experiences made me realise how capable and operationally ready the RSAF was, and how quickly we were able to deploy at just a momentâ€™s notice.
I believe that in order to succeed in everything we do, we must first be motivated to perform. I remember during one of the RSAF45@Heartlands events where I volunteered, I met this kid who asked me about my role in the Air Force. I told him about my job, which ranged from responsibilities like activating our units that were tasked with air defence missions, to managing contingencies and aircraft emergencies during operations, to seemingly trivial routines like broadcasting weather information to every entity in the air base. I explained to him no action was insignificant, and each of these, however small, had a part to play in ensuring that our skies were safe so that Singaporeans could sleep soundly at night. The child then turned around and proclaimed to his mother, "I want to be like him when I grow up!" Such were the delightful moments that motivated me to perform and excel in what I do in the RSAF. It was also why I decided to extend my National Service for another six months, because I knew there was meaning and purpose in what I do. 20
3SG (NS) Tan guiding a young visitor through air defence games at RSAF45@Heartlands at Sengkang
Above all, there is the “One Tribe” spirit of the organisation which warms my heart. The RSAF is not afraid to let national servicemen like me showcase our talents and innovations at work, and goes the extra mile to recognise our worth and efforts in serving the nation. I was very honoured to be conferred the NSF of the Year Award in 2015, and it remains the proudest moment of my National Service journey. This would not have been possible without the people-centric culture and the robust training system in 208 SQN. The steadfast support and trust from my superiors, trainers and peers were also instrumental in my professional and personal development, and I am very grateful to them for who I am today. Of course, there is one group of people who is ever willing to accommodate my work commitments and provide encouragement whenever needed. It is none other than my beloved parents. Their silent yet unwavering support has helped forge my vibrant Air Force Story!
Did You Know? The Control Squadrons comprising 205 SQN, 206 SQN, 207 SQN and 208 SQN in Tengah Air Base, Sembawang Air Base, Paya Lebar Air Base and Changi Air Base sit at the important nexus between flying and ground units. Control SQNs provide air traffic control, meteorological monitoring, as well as relevant flight information to the flying SQNs from Air Combat Command and Participation Command. They also play a crucial role in ensuring the safe departure and recovery of aircraft operating across all launch and recovery platforms.
have only been with the RSAF for two years, but in this short span of time, I have witnessed and experienced for myself the quality and standing of a First Class Air Force. I am immensely proud to have served alongside World Class people of the highest competencies and upmost commitment.
3SG (NS) Tan with his parents during SAF50@Istana
3SG (NS) Tan (3rd row, 3rd from right) with his SQN mates during a cohesion event in Sentosa
LTC Lim Ee Ling Air Warfare Officer (C3) G
rowing up, I always thought I would find a career in the hospitality industry due to the glamour and fun factor associated with it. I studied Business Studies in Nanyang Technological University and elected to major in Hospitality and Tourism Management to prepare myself for the working life. I even did an internship with a prestigious hotel during my final year in the university. I graduated in 1998 during the Asian financial crisis, and job prospects were bleak for graduates then. While considering the post of Management Trainee with the hotel I did my internship with, I chanced upon a recruitment advertisement by the RSAF. I went for the interviews and aptitude tests, and was eventually selected for the Air Warfare Officer (Command, Control and Communications) vocation, and I have never looked back since.
operate. Other responsibilities as CO 201 SQN include military transport and armskote management, areas that I have little experience with in the past 17 years. As CO 201 SQN, I am also the Camp Commandant of Choa Chu Kang Camp. In addition to commanding the SQN, I also need to be familiar with the trade of camp security and infrastructure maintenance of the entire camp. With the support of my command team, I was able to complete my operational cross-conversion training and level up my knowledge on camp management within six months of posting in. When the SQN was preparing for our annual audit in March this year, everyone in the SQN rallied together and worked tirelessly for two months. The shared goal
Fast forward 17 years, and I am currently the Commanding Officer of 201 SQN, a mobile C2 unit that plays a pivotal role as a key air power integrator for Air-Land and SeaAir missions. 16 Jan 15 â€” the day I took over command of the SQN â€” was the greatest career milestone I had achieved in the RSAF thus far. It was a proud and happy day for me as I stood before the men and women of 201 SQN, my superiors, colleagues, friends and family, and took my oath of command. The operational and training tempo in 201 SQN is different from the SQN I was trained in. Besides having strong control competencies, working in 201 SQN also requires one to be familiar with the way the Army and Navy 22
LTC Lim during Exercise Wallaby 2014
of performing well and wanting to succeed was clearly evident in the SQN, and the sense of purpose and camaraderie reaffirmed the reasons I chose this career almost two decades ago. This has been my most challenging tour thus far. There are decisions to be made regularly; decisions that may seem trivial now but may have a big impact on the SQN in the future. There are also personal sacrifices in terms of time with the family as operations and military obligations come first. I am thankful to my superiors for their advice and encouragement, and for the commitment and dedication of my command team. I am also grateful for the support and understanding from my husband of ten years, whom I met in the Air Force. To sum up my experience for the past 17 years, I would like to quote a tagline designed by my SQN command team, “The Roadrunners’ experience: the experience of a lifetime”. Indeed, the past 17 years have been a great experience for me. I cherish every moment of it and will continue to walk this journey with purpose, pride and passion.
LTC Lim with her husband Mr Eugene Tong, and their son Dalton
Did You Know? 201 SQN operates the Air-Land Tactical Control Centre (ALTaCC), which plays a pivotal role in managing airspace use for all land participation missions in the area of operations. ALTaCC also coordinates aircraft movement with ground fires from artillery platforms and Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) units to prevent fratricide, and deliver better air participation for land operations. With real-time control of fighter and GBAD assets, the ALTaCC allows for integrated air and land fires on targets.
LTC Lim (front row, 5th from left) with COMD Tactical Air Support Group, COL Yap Kwee Chye, and 201 SQN personnel during the SQN's Change of Command Ceremony
MAJ Adrian Quek Apache Pilot It was a silent walk back from the S-211 Marchetti Trainer Aircraft to the 130 SQN compound. Silent walks usually meant exceptionally poor performance. My instructor walked briskly, and I kept my head bowed as I trudged along beside him. He stopped at a plain brown tree. He picked the fruit off the tree, handed it to me and said in a low, stern tone, “You will carry this pair of balls with you wherever you go for one week, because you have the balls (audacity) to lose 200 feet on a 500 feet low-level recovery at 200 knots.”
s a Pilot trainee, I was taught to have the strict discipline to maintain my flight parameters in all phases of flight. This lesson would be one of many I learnt in my Air Force career, and one that would one day save my life. That day was 30 Sep 10, when I experienced a dual-engine failure in flight on an Apache attack helicopter. Spencer and I were planned for a routine maintenance flight scheduled on aircraft 2069 from 120 SQN that day. As Maintenance Test Pilots, we are trained to put an aircraft through a series of functional checks to ensure that the aircraft is serviceable for flight. When I experienced aircraft 2069’s first engine failure at 9,800 feet, I remember feeling a shot of adrenaline and my senses heightened. My thoughts cycled through the emergency procedures for an engine failure, the options I had to safely recover the aircraft and, most importantly, how to avoid populace while handling the emergency. Instinctively, my training kicked in and my actions were deliberate. I manoeuvred the aircraft towards Sembawang Air Base (SBAB) while looking out to avoid other aircraft and populace along my recovery flight path. Spencer’s actions were just as methodical. He declared an emergency and adjusted our transponder accordingly, without any prompting. We started to talk through our options of recovering to SBAB.
MAJ (then CPT) Quek and MAJ (then CPT) Spencer Ler with then CAF, MG Ng Chee Meng, after receiving the CAF Safety Award at the Annual Safety Conference on 5 Apr 11
75 seconds later, at 8,060 feet, we lost engine number two. My displays and instruments went blank because we lost all electrical power at that instant. We placed the helicopter in an autorotation and attempted to maintain aircraft control. I focused on looking for suitable landing areas even as we steered the aircraft towards the SBAB runway. However, we were descending too rapidly, and we did not have the range to reach the runway. I made an initial decision of landing in the trees at the northern end of SBAB because it seemed like the only alternative clear of populace.
I called this out to Spencer, and felt a sense of dread at that moment. Landing in the trees would mean that the aircraft would receive substantial damage and we could lose our lives. I vividly recall fighting off that feeling and persevered with my search for another suitable landing area. Thereafter, I spotted the open field at Woodlands. Once Spencer confirmed that the field was free of people, I turned the aircraft towards the open field and proceeded to make the engine-off landing. It took one minute from the time my second engine failed to the time I landed on the field. If the field had been occupied by civilians, I would have continued with my decision to take the trees. I got out of the aircraft and hugged Spencer. There was an immense sense of relief because we fought hard to land the helicopter safely, and made it out of the ordeal alive. I credit the way we handled the emergency to our years of training that served us well that afternoon. As Pilots, we are trained to handle emergencies. In our training, we push ourselves hard and demand the highest standards so that when called upon, we make the correct splitsecond decisions. These decisions could mean the difference between life and death, and in this case, affecting not just our lives, but the lives of the civilian populace as well. This incident also highlighted the importance of trust between two crew members. Spencer trusted my decision to land at the field and execute the landing safely. I, on the other hand, could not have asked for a more competent co-Pilot because his actions were
MAJ Quek with his wife, Ms Faezah Sallimin, and their children, Sophie and Sonia
spot-on and timely. Through this incident, I found renewed motivation to train harder, because when an emergency arises, my co-Pilot in the front seat must know that he can trust me with his life. It has been five years since the landing at Woodlands. Occasionally, I reflect on our actions that day and realise that the tough training we were put through in the RSAF played an important role in shaping the Pilots who landed at Woodlands. As an OC in 120 SQN, I drive my flight members to train hard and relentlessly push the boundaries of their skills. It is important for them to know that if they ever have to go into combat, they will be the best Apache Pilots they can possibly be. To our airmen and women in the RSAF who put in hours upon hours of hard work in training, continue to strive for perfection, because when called upon, we will be ready. 25
ME4 Seah Quan Meng Air Imagery Intelligence Expert M
y Air Force Story has taken me on a journey through many RSAF intelligence vocations, from an Intelligence Specialist to an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Operator to a UAV Systems Specialist and finally the Air Imagery Intelligence Expert (AIRIX), I started my military career in 1984 as an Intelligence Specialist in the Field Photo Unit (FPU) which operated our first UAV, the Mastiff Remotely Piloted Vehicle. Then, intelligence operations were new and so were unmanned operations. In order to catalyse the growth, the SAF transferred the unit from the Army to the RSAF in 1988, leveraging on the RSAFâ€™s aviation expertise to grow the capability quickly and safely. Here, I moved into a previously foreign domain (airspace, flight safety and stringent maintenance standards) and became an air practitioner and a better UAV operator. Moving into the nineties, my roles expanded in both operational and technical roles as we grew to become UAV Systems Specialists (UAVSS). Taking on greater responsibilities, I had to juggle technical requirements for aircraft serviceability as well as operate UAVs for imagery collection for intelligence. In this important phase, I realised that operational effectiveness itself is not sufficient; it must be complemented by strong technical efficiency to complete the ingredients for mission success in all intelligence operations.
ME4 Seah performing imagery intelligence exploitation
Since then, the intelligence domain has developed rapidly in the RSAF, and I am fortunate to be part of the growth to meet the expanding demands in our Air Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AISR) operations.
CAF presenting the SQN patch to ME4 Seah during the 129 SQN inauguration ceremony
To meet the growing demands in imagery exploitation, the AIRIX vocation was created to provide actionable imagery intelligence for the RSAF through exploiting large volumes of imagery. Transforming my role in UAV operations to imagery intelligence operations was natural, but it was not easy. To deepen my expertise, I had to learn new competencies and accelerate my growth in new and uncharted areas.
As one of the forerunners in the AISR field, I have a huge responsibility to bring concepts to reality. In addition, this is also an opportunity for me to drive important issues for my vocation actively, and set new standards for future AIRIXes at the same time. In the last three years, the AIRIX vocation has made huge strides to be part of the local and overseas deployments as well as key exercises to demonstrate our value to the RSAF. I am extremely proud to have contributed to the achievements as well as the expansion in intelligence operations.
Did You Know? Air Imagery Intelligence Experts (AIRIXes) are Military Experts equipped with state-of-the-art imagery systems, tasked to provide accurate and timely mission information for air operations. They analyse and interpret crucial real-time air imagery data, and support integrated operations in a triService operating environment
I had the pleasure and honour to work with some of the finest officers, colleagues and friends who have imparted invaluable knowledge and fortified strong values in me. I am constantly reminded that the peace, freedom and security that Singaporeans enjoy must not be taken for granted and this motivates me to push on to protect what I love â€” my country, my home and my loved ones. This year, I was also promoted to a senior Military Expert, an honour that I hold dearly. It is also a testament to the RSAFâ€™s commitment to develop its people. Intelligence operations in the RSAF have come a long way, and I am proud to be a part of this development. I believe that the RSAF will continue to scale greater heights and be Above All.
ME4 Seah (front row, 4th from left) with his SQN during the 7th Military Intelligence Organisation Dining-In
ME4 Seah (back row, 6th from right) with 129 SQN personnel during the 129 SQN Inauguration Ceremony
LTA Sheena Ng UAV Pilot F
lying the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) may seem like an easy task but it's not as simple as I thought. The route to being an operational UAV Pilot wasn't easy for me. The rigorous training, emphasis on flight discipline and flight planning have shaped me as a UAV Pilot and as an officer. It was the encouragement from my instructors, some of whom eventually became my close friends, colleagues and superiors, which brought me to where I am now. Being an operational UAV Pilot, I fly the Heron 1 UAV system to support the SAFâ€™s Air Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AISR) missions. There is hardly a dull moment in the SQN. I feel privileged to operate one of the most advanced UAV platforms in the region, and challenge myself to meet the high standards set by my instructors. The camaraderie in the SQN makes this journey worthwhile. Often, my superiors, senior Pilots and peers are willing to put in the extra mile to coach me so that we can succeed as a team.
The SQN's emphasis on learning and open sharing has provided me the room to learn and allowed me to realise my potential. The privilege of serving under several Flight Commanders and Commanding Officers has taught me values such as leadership and determination, which cannot be found in textbooks. These experiences have inspired me to do well as a UAV Pilot. Apart from flying, I am also part of the SAFSA bowling team. The discipline required of me in flying also applies in sports, as competitive bowling requires discipline and focus. With the encouragement and support from the SQN management, I am able to balance my time between the operational duties and my competitions. With a diverse mix of members from different Services and vocations, I was given the opportunity to forge new friendships and increase my knowledge and awareness of the other Services in the SAF. Representing SAFSA for the Public Service Bowling Competition, my team
LTA Ng (front row, 5th from left) with UAV Command personnel during the UAV Command reorganisation ceremony
managed to clinch 3rd runner-up for two consecutive years. I attribute my success in the sporting arena to Team Excellence, which is also one of the core values of the RSAF. It is a value we live by, as UAV Pilots operate as two-man crew in the ground control station.
LTA Ng with the Heron 1 UAV
LTA Ng with her SAFSA bowling team
Although I've just started my journey with the RSAF, I've already had the opportunity to volunteer at the SAF50@ Vivo roadshow. Hearing how the younger generation of Singaporeans want to join the RSAF to protect the country heartens me. Those words also motivate me to work even harder so I can do my part to protect and defend Singapore. I am proud to say that I am a UAV Pilot, and this is my Air Force Story.
LTA Ng with members of the public during SAF50@Vivo
LTC (RET) Prasad Kumar Menon Airspace Consultant G
rowing up in the then Royal Air Force (RAF) station at Tengah where my father worked, I could have never imagined a career in Singapore’s own Air Force after I completed Pre-University at the end of 1967. But in January 1968, when Britain announced its decision to withdraw its forces in Singapore by 1971, Singapore had to develop its own Air Arm. That provided me the opportunity to join a pioneering group of 31 cadet Pilot Officers and 4 commissioned Army Officers in what was to become the Singapore Air Defence Command (SADC). Although it was not clear to us at that time, it soon became apparent that Singapore had to develop a credible Air Defence Command by the time the British withdrew its forces by the end of 1971.
LTC (RET) (then CPT) Menon hosting then Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and Mrs Lee for the SADC Anniversary Dinner held at the Istana on 4 Sep 74
LTC (RET) (then OCT) Menon (2nd from left) with Seletar Tower's first operational staff in March 1969
By the end of 1968, I was posted to the Air Traffic Control Branch of the Command and quickly underwent training with the Department of Civil Aviation (now CAAS) at Paya Lebar and RAF Shawbury in the United Kingdom. I returned in 1969 to be part of a team to run our first operational unit at Seletar Tower. Unlike Tengah and Changi, Seletar was handed to us with only the bare essentials. We only had two aircraft radio sets for air traffic communication and these kept overheating after a few hours. As a consequence we had to rely on the help of the civilian radio technicians of the fledging 120 SQN to keep our radios going. With no runway lights, we had to improvise with “goose necks”; large kerosene cans with a spout for thick wicks which were spaced out on either side of the runway and lit by our specialists in their yellow Land Rovers. This spirit of improvisation and make do were so typical of all elements of the Command during the period and helped the rapid build-up of the RSAF from scratch.
Over the years, I have been fortunate to have worked in several capacities at RSAF Bases and HQ RSAF in areas that include Air Traffic Control, Air Defence, Air Base Operations, Operational Plans, Doctrines and Airspace Policy. Working in these capacities has enabled me to observe some of the major milestones in our history. These include the Air Force transition from SADC to a separate Service (1975); the expansion of the fighter orbat and the growth of the Flying Training School (19731980); the redevelopment of the main Air Bases and the raising of Singapore Air Defence Artillery (1980-85); the push for zero accidents (1992); establishing permanent detachments overseas (1993-1995) and the RSAFâ€™s enhanced capability build-up (1995-2000). After my retirement in 2001, I was greatly humbled when I was asked to continue as an Airspace Consultant, a position I still hold. One of the great hallmarks of the RSAF is its capacity to make path-breaking decisions that turn adversity to advantage. An example of this is the way we overcame our training airspace constraints locally in the face of an expanding orbat in 1977. The RSAF decided to find training opportunities overseas with the help of friendly countries. By doing so, it allowed us to enhance our capability by training with established air forces, taking in and evaluating new ideas, operating in new environments and developing capabilities to project forces overseas. Another great quality that we have developed as an institution is our capacity to introspect from time to time and, where necessary, to review our organisation and processes to enhance our operational capabilities. An early example of this was the way we responded to the aircraft accident concerns in the late eighties. Every facet of our operations and engineering practices was dispassionately reviewed and the resulting measures saw a remarkable turnaround in the safety status of the Air Force. Our safety records reached new heights with the implementation of the zero accident philosophy. A more recent example was the third generation transformation of the Air Force to become a full spectrum and integrated force. The transformation was far reaching in its scope
LTC (RET) (then CPT)Menon (front row, 5th from right) with the first batch of female intake for ATC Specialists (then known as ATC Assistants) in 1973
LTC (RET) Menon (5th from left) during the 30th Anniversary Reunion of the RSAF (SADC)'s 1st Officer Cadets Platoon in 1998
and widespread in its effects. It changed the constitution of the Air Force's principal fighting elements to align it closer to its operational missions than ever attempted before. Another enduring quality that we have developed is the capacity of the Air Force to come together for a common mission at very short notice. From the various humanitarian and disaster relief missions we conducted, to the cable car rescue in 1988, to the way in which we reorganised ourselves into a new air defence posture post 9/11, the Air Force has developed its own culture of professionalism, safety, and team excellence. As an Air Force, we began with little tradition. Over time, we began forging the best practices from the Air Forces we were working with, and later, coming in to our own. As I look back over the 47 years, I was privileged to be given the opportunity to see the Air Force develop. I worked with several brilliant minds and many dedicated individuals who applied themselves wholeheartedly to the development of the RSAF. Their passion, professionalism and commitment have always inspired me and it has been a distinct honour for me to have served alongside them. I am proud to be part of the pioneering generation that helped build the RSAF from the ground up.
The RSAF is a First Class Air Force, always ready to deter aggression and defend Singapore and its interests. We will respond decisively to the full spectrum of missions from peace to war as part of an integrated SAF. We will be superior in the air and decisively influence the ground and maritime battles. The RSAF is founded on the core values and competencies of its World Class People. We are committed to the nation, the SAF, the RSAF and to one another. Together, we will overcome adversity with courage and fortitude. Above all, our people are the heart of our organisation.
As we celebrate our 47th anniversary, we pay tribute to our past and present airmen and women committed to the organisation and defence of S...
Published on Sep 7, 2015
As we celebrate our 47th anniversary, we pay tribute to our past and present airmen and women committed to the organisation and defence of S...