Sunday, September 25, 2011

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) stages massive 5,750km air and sealift to Australia to deploy forces for Exercise Wallaby

The first two Singapore Airlines B777 charter flights packed with several hundred Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel are expected to arrive tonight in Rockhampton Airport (ICAO code: ROK).

Some 20 more B777s charter flights are expected to wing their way from Singapore to ROK - a distance of some 5,750km - in the coming days as the build-up of forces for this year's Exercise Wallaby gathers pace.

Pre-flight: RSAF ground crew from 120 Squadron assemble an Apache AH-64D attack helicopter at Rockhampton Airport as preparations for Exercise Wallaby swing into high gear. Note that the Oakey-based Super Puma in the foreground has had its floatation gear removed.

Tiny Rockhampton Airport in Australia's Queensland State is looking more like a military airfield as the Singaporean military pumps more war machines into the area.

Ten Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) helicopters are already there, according to Australian plane spotters who are keeping tabs on air activity in and around ROK.

The latest arrivals are four AH-64D Apache attack helicopters from 120 Squadron. The Apaches were transported there on Tuesday 21 September aboard a Polets Airlines Antonov AN-124-100 heavy-lift (RA-82075, Flight POT4762) transport aircraft. The Polets Airlines Antonov left ROK on Wednesday. For more, please visit the Central Queensland Plane Spotting site here.

The Apaches join six Super Puma/Cougars which flew there from the Australian Army's Oakey Army Aviation Centre, where the RSAF maintains a helicopter detachment.

These rotary-wing assets from the RSAF Participation Command will soon be joined by fast jets from Singapore. (27 Sept'11 Update: Sing sources clarified no fast jets for Ex Wallaby 2011. Helos only.)

The war machines are due to participate in Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) manoeuvres in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) held as part of Exercise Wallaby - an umbrella term that embraces several component war games.

The SAF build-up has proven to be somewhat of an attraction for Australian military buffs, some of whom drove several hundred kilometres to catch the action at ROK.

Plane spotter Damian Freiberg said:"Local spotters enjoy the extra action - it also brings out a lot of local visitors who enjoy watching all the heavy jet action! Other Australian spotters travel to Rocky to take photos too."

Acknowledgements: This blog appreciates the efforts of Australian military nuts in keeping an eye on things in ROK. We will keep you informed of departures from SIN so you can catch them at the end of their flight. Check Six!

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