Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has announced that it will replace its fleet of helicopters due to obsolescence.
It stated that the H225M and CH-47F will replace the RSAF’s existing Super Pumas and the older CH-47Ds of the RSAF’s CH-47 fleet which have been in service since 1983 and 1994 respectively.
MINDEF said that it is timely to replace the helicopters to ensure SAF continues to have an effective heli-lift capability for a wide range of operations including Search and Rescue (SAR), medical evacuation and Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. Noting that MINDEF/SAF has always taken a rigorous and prudent approach in planning for Singapore’s defence needs and acquires sufficient helicopters to meet its defence requirements.
According to the Ministry, The H225M and CH-47F were selected after rigorous and stringent evaluation process found them to be the most cost-effective solution to provide the SAF with a robust heli-lift capability for a wide range of operations. The H225M has an approximately 20% longer range compared to the Super Pumas, and will provide operational flexibility with its manoeuvrability and small landing footprint which are essential when operating in confined environments during operations such as medical evacuation and HADR.
It noted that the helicopters are projected for delivery from 2020 onwards and a decision on the training arrangements will be made in due course. The existing Super Pumas and older CH-47Ds will be progressively drawn down.
However, it is noted in the industry that there have been earlier doubts over the deal due to Norwegian investigators stating their belief that metal fatigue in a gearbox component was behind the fatal crash of an Airbus Helicopters H225 near Bergen on 29 April, which killed 13 individuals on board..