Exercise Torrent 2016, before the fighter jets can take off

[ Media Invite ]

I was at Lim Chu Kang road (next to Tengah Air Base TAB) to witness RSAF prepare for Exercise Torrent 2016. Airplane enthusiasts would not miss Exercise Torrent, it is way better than any RSAF (Republic Singapore Air Force) open house.

(The actual launching for F15s and F16s are documented here)
Exercise Torrent 2016

You will never get any nearer to the LOUD jets taking off a few lanes away from you!
Check out the Hawkeye E2C unfolding its wings like Transformers in this video clip and road preparation here. I hesitated to bring my kids along as I thought they might find the repetitive landings and take-offs boring after a while :p

Before the birds F16 and F15 can take off from Lim Chu Kang Road (LCK), there are a lot of activities to accomplish 48 hours beforehand.

How many contractors are needed to clear the road signs?
dsc_6085

How many people do we need to dismantle a Bus Stop?
img_1525

Can you guess the amount of Railings along Lim Chu Kang road?
dsc_6313

Many lamp posts were taken down.
lamp-posts-removal-exercise-torrent

Now multiply the amount of efforts above along 2.5km. Personnel had to dismantle 153 LAMP POSTS, 14 TRAFFIC JUNCTIONS, 12 BUS STOPS, 58 ROAD SIGNS AND 1.2KM OF GUARD RAILS! (This is crazy!)
exercise-torrent-2016-infographic
(Image credit RSAF)

Our contractors must be amused at the level of attention which they are drawing. We took so many photos and videos of them hard at work 🙂

Food for thought, are we going to rely on our foreign contractors during period of tension?
All these dismantling involved a lot of manual labour, which is time consuming and not productive at all.
Perhaps DSTA (Defence Science) can improvised some effective ways to quickly dismantle the infrastructure along Lim Chu Kang road (example, you press one button and all surface infrastructure will automatically fold down)

We heard one speed camera was removed too, otherwise the camera will keep on flashing at the Speeding Birds :p
exercise-torrent-2016
day-1-ex-torrent7

Torrent 2008 was the 6th exercise, we had waited 8 years for you 🙂
img_1457

Video (link) : It took RSAF and partners 48 hours to transform Lim Chu Kang road for Exercise Torrent 2016

Multiple agencies are also involved in Exercise Torrent. Just to name a few, Nparks (Pruning of plants), AVA (the farms around Lim Chu Kang), LTA (Road infrastructures dismantling), Singapore Police (Road diversion), National Environment Agency (pest and perhaps mosquito control).

Other equipment and assets deployed during Exercise Torrent.

Mobile Air Traffic Control (MATC) tower, this cabin might be the best spot to view all the activities! (got aircon too)
Did you know that Singapore also deployed MATCs in Banda Aceh after Boxing Day Tsunami?
singapore-mobile-air-traffic-control-tower
dsc_6138

Mobile Arrestor Gear (MAG) will stop all planes! The steel hookwire is deployed across the road attached to two MAG (each weighing 8 tonnes). Unlike Aircraft carriers, which must stop all planes on the short platform, MAG is only used during emergencies.

Be prepared to watch MAG in action again a F16, a first for Exercise Torrent!
mag-mobile-arrestor-gear

Picture below, clockwise from top left:
FOD Killer in action (FOD stands for Foreign Object damage). This road sweeper can suck up magnetic (screws nuts etc) which might damage the fighter jets
– Second and third pic – Solar powered Airfield lights to demarcate the runway (These are not your usual camping lights from Decathlon)
PAPI ( Precision Approach Path Indicator) – Pilots use them to guide landing angle (4 White too high, 4 Red too low), must aim for 2 White and 2 Red.
day-1-ex-torrent10

We must not forget the Force Protection team, who will ensure that exercise will run smoothly and mitigate any security incidence which might occur. I understand some of them are reservists and will be sacrificing their weekends with the Air Force family.

2.8km of concertina wires were laid to fence off the temporary runway, I hate these “metal barbs”!
security-around-exercise-torrent

This weekend, Lim Chu Kang will be closed to the public until Sunday 2pm (Map and details link)
lim-chu-kang-road-closures
day-1-ex-torrent8

Some other interesting sights.

No chickens are running away today, we also heard the fowls were stressed from the jets afterburners (previous Torrents) and eggs production were affected :p
chicken-farms-lim-chu-kang

day-1-ex-torrent11

Since the last Torrent, Skyhawks and Hawkeyes had been retired (and F5 with their parachutes semi-retired?), I am wondering whether Gulfstream will make a guest appearance?
day-1-ex-torrent12

The stage is set. I hoped media group can stand next to the drain for maximum adrenaline 🙂
day-1-ex-torrent9

During Torrent 2016 (7th edition), 12 fighter jets will be roaring across Lim Chu Kang (F15 and F16).
img_1486
dsc_6137

I cannot wait for the weekend to come. Exercise Torrent 2016 is going to Rock Lim Chu Kang!
More photos have been uploaded on our Facebook.

For the latest updates, do follow RSAF on their Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram on @TheRSAF handler.

ps..
Go and ask the kids why Singapore need extra Lim Chu Kang runway?
(If you Google, you will know the number of runways at TAB)

*update* 2016 13 Nov – Post 2 on actual F15 and F16 landing along Lim Chu Kang, read here

6 reasons to love RSAF Open House 2016

[ Media Invite ]

F16, F15, Apache, Chinook and Spyder, these are 5 reasons why your family might enjoy RSAF Open House 2016. Joking 🙂 the hardware “toys” in RSAF’s arsenal (Republic of Singapore Air Force) is only one of the reasons to visit #ROH16.

Front row seat, ear plugs equipped, unless you wish to feel F16 and F15 (double trust) vibes! Boon Yee and Boon Xin enjoyed their day out at Paya Lebar Air Base (PLAB). They did not mind when Daddy apply for ponten (class excuse) heh heh.
roh16

21 and 22 May, RSAF Open House is back after 5 years (our 2008 experience here). Themed ‘Defending our Skies’, it showcase RSAF’s capabilities both hardware and heartware. We will share our favourite segments of the open house below.

#01- Engage the kids with questions

Some sample questions to rise their curiosity, and hopefully appreciate Singapore’s constrain and resourcefulness:
– Why does SG need mid-air refueling? We have three air bases.
– How fast does it takes to fly an F15 from Pasir Ris to Tuas?
– Why does SG need to train overseas in USA, India, France, Australia?
– What will happen to the planes in Paya Lebar after it’s closure in 2030?
– What is the most powerplane in RSAF? Next one F35?
– Are fighter jets armed with missiles every time they take to the sky?
– With so many missiles, does pilots still need to engage in dog fight?
– How do pilots fight at night?

RSAF Open House

#02 – Air and ground capabilities demonstrations

Siren blares, unknown object flying towards Singapore airspace, scramble to intercept!
Meanwhile, air defences are standing by to bring down any hostile planes.
20160517 ROF162

During an emergency, reaction time is mere seconds, there is no window for mistake. Any hostile plane can reach Singapore within minutes at supersonic speed, the threat from ballistic missiles will be even more dire!

If you have the opportunity to fly one of the joy rides, you will realised that Singapore is very small!
This makes me marvel at our air defence, always ready to spot and trace suspicious objects. RSAF’s vigilance allows us to sleep soundly at night.

20160517 ROF16

Those who balloted successfully for DA40 flight should feel freedom (refer RSAF video link) in the all glass cockpit! But try any additional stunts, and a pair of fighter jet escorts might just threaten to sidewinder you :p
20160517 ROF163

We got helicopters flying over the tree line. While Apaches take out the imaginary armoured columns, Chinooks sling in the calvary.
20160517 ROF164
20160517 ROF165

Fighter jets keeping our skies safe, some might complain that they are creating too much sound pollution over Sengkang and Punggol, but that is a small price to pay for our sovereignty and peace (pardon the pun).
20160517 ROF166
20160517 ROF167

Video (link) : Action station at RSAF Open House 2016

Visitors will also get to witness K9 and Red Lions in actions.

#03- Static display offers more photo opportunities

DSC_4441

Two types of ATC (Air traffic controller) in photo. The mobile one was setup in Bandang Aceh to help control air traffic after the deadly 2004 tsunami (Operation Flying Eagle).

Share with the kids how Singapore sailed to help Indonesians after they were stricken by the Tsunami.
20160517 ROF169

We are in awe with the missiles, cannons, and impressive array of weapons.
20160517 ROF1610

Even more impressive is the high work-rate of the ground crew in arming and turning-over the plane. In war time, it is crucial to quickly turn over plane (think F1 pit stop) so that planes can quickly airlift and carry out their missions.
20160517 ROF1618

I told the kids that RSAF ground crew and pilots are up there with the best air forces from the world. This is all the more admirable, considering our Air Force is only 47 years old, never seen combat, and consist of conscripts.

Helicopters old and new, Apache and Super Puma.
20160517 ROF1616

Another old bird, lifting since 1977!
RSAF hercules

More props on display.
20160517 ROF1624

#04- Meet the Heartware, RSAF crew who keep our air force in tip top condition

Kudos to the friendly Air Force ambassadors and volunteers, they really know how to engage the kids 🙂
They answered our questions to the best of their knowledge.

DSC_4447

After I show Captain Nah’s poster to Boon Yee, he was keen to pose with RSAF’s first female F15 pilot 🙂
F15 woman pilot Captain Nah

Salute to the ground crew, it is super hot under their No4 but they press on to complete their mission.
20160517 ROF1617

Final sprucing, everyone wants RSAF Open House to shine! Dedication and teamwork, it is the heartware which makes RSAF “Above All”.
20160517 ROF1614

#05- Go Indoors for more activities and food. Air con is always welcome 🙂

Learn about RSAF’s History, and transformation into 3G fighting force.
20160517 ROF1621

Kids are always curious to try out airplane simulation. This VR (Virtual Reality) kit also allows mechanics to hone their servicing skills.
20160517 ROF168

Singapore’s constrain airspace and proximity to neighbours’ boundary. Told kids this is why our pilots need to train in USA, France, India and Australia.
Air space constrain Singapore

Some other indoor activities include Rock climbing, airforce smart uniforms for kids and even Drone flying (no, we did not get to fly the Heron or Hermes)

#06 – Joyrides are the highlight of the day!

I suspect RSAF’s ballot joyride tickets (ended already) are the second most popular in town, after NDP. You can ballot to fly in a DA40, Chinook, Fokker and also Hercules! Too bad Gulfstream 550 is not on the list 🙂
20160517 ROF1615

Last call for Flight F50. I did remind kids beforehand that Flight F50 did not have any air crew to serve us orange juice and warm tower haha.
DCIM104GOPRO

Just imagine, you are a crew of 4, flying surveillance or anti-piracy drills over South China Sea, Straits of Malacca or even Gulf of Aden. Just vast open sea and endless horizon. Not very exciting, but still a crucial task.

For the “media group”, we got to circle Sengkang and Punggol (I can spot LRT and Coney Island!)
At 2000 feet cruising speed, we were soon over Central Nature Reserve (Macritchie), heading towards CBD.

Seldom do we see Singapore’s famous greens from the top, as commercial flights normally approach from the sea.
Sentosa, MBS, Nationtal Stadium and we are back at PLAB again.
It makes us realised that Singapore is really small.

20160517 ROF1619

Our Fun joyride with Fokker 50, Jubilant!

When our flight approached CBD, I can imagine the excitement when aircrews perform their signature “50” in formation over MBS towards floating platform! (SG50 airshow Youtube link)

We hope your family will enjoy RSAF Open House as much as we did 🙂
RSAF media invite

Follow @TheRSAF #ROH16 to get latest updates and tag your photos to win exclusive gifts.
20160517 ROF1611
20160517 ROF1623
paya lebar air base map
(image credit RSAF)

More details and interesting facts :
* Crowds are expected, be patient, and show your appreciation to the volunteers and RSAF staff
** RSAF Open House is free and open to everyone
*** Road closures, shuttle buses, programme highlights and schedules for RSAF Open House (Shuttle buses from Eunos and Kovan)

– You can cycle to PLAB (but might be limited parking lots)
– Daily performance timing (Sat 1030 and 1430) and (Sun 1130 and 1630)
– Apply sun tan, bring a brolly, drink more water
– Paya Lebar air base will close shop in year 2030
– Try to spot the F5s when you are airborne, these awesome interceptors were once our protectors

– Do pop by our friends’ reviews, David from Life’s Tiny Miracles, Chuan Ren from Coffee And Bullets and BumbleBee Mum.
– Our Paya Lebar experience, Pre-NDP F15 flight check, 2008 Open House and Cycling on the runway!
– More photos uploaded on our Fanpage album

Air force open house with family

In my humble opinion, to see a F15 and F16 scrambling and takeoff in full sight and sound, should be a better experience than classroom environment. Say YES.