Sunday, September 18, 2011

National Day Parade 2012, Singapore: Some random thoughts

The planning cycle for National Day Parade 2012 (NDP 2012) has begun but has yet to reach a design freeze.

Next year's parade will be the fifth held at The Float@Marina Bay after NDP 07, 08, 09, 11. The event is being organised by Headquarters Guards, the parent formation for the Singapore Army's heliborne infantry known as Guardsmen.

The Guardsmen work closely with rotary-wing elements from the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) Participation Command to plan, prepare and execute airmobile operations and regularly test such CONOPs during war games such as Exercise High Noon and Orion.

Combat support elements from the Singapore Artillery such as the 155mm Pegasus lightweight howitzer, which can be airlifted by a Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, serve an important role in providing Guardsmen with concentrated artillery fire in their area of operations.

Specialised heli-portable gun or missile-armed Light Strike Vehicles (LSV) such as the Flyer and Spider (the vehicle, not the munition) are integral to Guards-led spearheads designed to provide flank support for the Singapore Army's heavy manoeuvre units formed by Armoured Battle Groups (ABG).

Essentially light infantry after they have landed, Guardsmen use 40mm Automatic Grenade Launchers (40AGL) or wire-guided Spike anti-tank missiles with a launch and update capability to harass hostile forces en route to meeting engagements with SAF ABGs.

Guardsmen can also capture and secure key transportation nodes such as expressway interchanges or river crossing points as manoeuvre forces fight their way towards the objective from land or from a coastal hook beach landing.

With this background in mind, let's look at how HQ Guards can revamp the Dynamic Defence Display (D3) for NDP 2012.

1. Airmobile column
Stage an aerial flypast that displays the airmobile capability of the Third Generation Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). Singaporeans have seen numerous NDP flypasts and get to see the Mobile Column of war machines once every five years. An Airmobile column comprising underslung 155mm Pegasus guns, LSVs in various fighting configurations (40AGL, Spike, 120mm SRAMS mortar), with Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and Super Puma/Cougar medium-lift helicopters escorted by Apache attack helicopters with assorted ordnance would add a new and visually captivating element to NDP.

Do watch this video to see what a massed formation (from 3:10 onwards) of helicopters might look like. This formation was filmed in Singapore.

2. Chinook with naval divers
This display should be updated with the Chinook landing on the water to launch a dinghy with naval divers. The one we saw this year with naval divers jumping off a Chinook has been repeated several times already. Not many people realise the Chinook can land on water and the calm conditions in the freshwater reservoir (less corrosive than a water landing in seawater) are ideal for such a demo.

The flight demo you see below was flown by Spanish pilots. Imagine watching this in Marina Bay.

3. Recognise 45 years of National Service
The year 2012 will mark the 45th year of National Service. This milestone should be built into part of the D3 show, perhaps using the well-known Open Mobilisation logo and all codewords flashed over the past decades during Open Mob exercises. This would show spectators the number of units that have gone through mobilisation practices in past years - and there have been many.

It will be clear that the Chinooks have a big part to play in the Airmobile column and D3 show.

Their contribution would be timely as the number in their official designation, CH-47D Chinook, coincides with the 47th year of Singapore's independence.



Ah Lim said...

Impressive! It be like those days where we have 25 A-4 doing the number 25....but then do we have sufficient no. CHinook? Since already 3 will be used for State Flag? and some on routine maintenance and stdby duty?

Anonymous said...

Is it necessary to have a military component every year? Theres only so much they can do.
Maybe its time to rethink the format, less we start to look like North Korea..

Ah Lim said...

Then who will organise NDP? PA? HDB? Let me guess....u might prob say why have NDP? scrapped it

NSman officer said...

I think we should not spend so much on national day parade every year. Goodness knows what is the exact budget for national day! It is too wasteful and a big show off. We should do a good parade once in say 5 years. The rest of the time, we should do low key celebrations on say constituency basis. The money saved should be spent on the poor and underprivileged.

24S C/S said...

Will be nice to see this sort of NDU recovery during next NDP

Anonymous said...

While we are aware what the Chinook is capable of, the SAF always prefer not to present its true capabilities. Many of the SAF's capabilities are deemed as senstive even though our neighbours have them. I guess we're just too kiasu. I suppose if we don't display our capabilities, then people can go on guessing what we really can or cannot do.