The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has reassigned three of its AH-64D Apache Longbow multi-role combat helicopters from its training base in the United States to a RSAF facility in Singapore, marking the first-ever deployment of international Apache helicopters in Asia.
One of the Apache Longbows, produced by The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] in Mesa, Ariz., is on display this week at the 2006 Asian Aerospace exhibition in Singapore.
U.S. Army Apaches have been stationed in Asia over the past decade, but Singapore, which joined the Apache family in 1999, had previously assigned its growing fleet to training duties at a facility in Arizona.Singapore has ordered 20 Apache Longbow helicopters and has logged more than 8,000 accident-free hours in the past three-and-a-half-years while training in Arizona.Singapore received its first eight in 2002 and began receiving the first of the final 12 in January 2006.
The first of the three Apache Longbows sent to Singapore was ceremoniously accepted in Arizona in January before being flown to Singapore by transport aircraft.
"The return marks a significant milestone for the Republic of Singapore Air Force.In the U.S., they have had very good training value. They were able to practice and train the components, the proficiencies and the competencies. Now we can look at the bigger scheme of things and fit them in with the other pieces to set the stage for a new era for our defense force," said Colonel Tan Wee Ngee, Commander, Sembawang Air Base.
Boeing and the RSAF have been working closely to ensure the program meets or exceeds requirements and will continue to ensure that the RSAF has the resources to maintain and operate its aircraft in Singapore.
"The Singapore Apache program continues to make great strides and achieve significant milestones," said Tommy Filler, Boeing director of International Apache Programs. "Our overall success reflects outstanding teamwork and long-term commitments from everyone involved. And we're equally proud that the Republic of Singapore Air Force is the first of our international customers in Asia to field the Apache."
The Apache Longbow features fully integrated avionics and weapons plus a state-of-the-art modem transmitting real-time, secure digitized battlefield information to air and ground forces. It can rapidly detect, classify, prioritize and engage stationary or moving opposition targets at standoff ranges in nearly all weather environments.