betty July 20, 2022

SINGAPORE – It might be over in less than two minutes, but dispatching naval divers into the waters of Marina Bay from a helicopter at the upcoming National Day Parade at The Float requires precise timing and months of training.

Helicopter pilot Daniel Goh, 42, said executing this Total Defence Display segment safely and putting up a good show takes a great deal of coordination.

The last time this segment – called Helocast – was showcased was in 2017.

It is roaring back in style with a new Chinook helicopter, the CH-47F, which boasts upgraded avionics and autopilot capabilities. Six divers will be jumping in succession from the helicopter.

Major Goh, who will be flying the aircraft, said it is able to manoeuvre more easily and with greater precision than previous models of Chinooks.

The navy’s combatant craft medium vessels and naval divers will be deployed during the segment in response to “hostile forces” in a high-speed boat chase.

Maj Goh said the challenge lies in executing the manoeuvres in a small area and within a tight timeframe.

“Within a short span of two minutes, there are multiple events ongoing, so it’s essential for all crew to be familiar with our roles and responsibilities,” he said.

Due to the small space, divers have to nail the precise timing in jumping one after another.

Naval diver Daniel Chow, 36, said the high-speed boat chase takes place in an area much smaller than the vast open sea where the navy usually trains.

The air force and navy started planning and training for the segment in May.

Third warrant officer (3WO) “Riptide”, a naval diver who cannot be named due to security reasons, will be driving a combatant craft medium in the high-speed chase.

He said: “When we train, we always go through a dry run onshore before we hit the water. In the water, we will go slow from 25 per cent speed to 50, 75, then 100 per cent.”