RSAF’s new Boeing and Airbus helicopters attain full operational capability

2 minute read

APR 11, 2024,



SINGAPORE - Two new transport helicopter types acquired by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) attained full operational capability on April 11.

The Airbus Helicopters’ H225M medium-lift and Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift transport helicopters are now capable of performing the full suite of missions required by the RSAF.

These include troop transport; carrying underslung loads, which are too big to fit inside the cabin; search and rescue; aeromedical evacuation; and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations.


The H225M and CH-47F will replace the older Super Puma and CH-47D Chinook previously operated by the RSAF.

They feature improved communications and self-defence capabilities as well as being able to carry heavier payloads, according to Major Tan Guan Yong, the commanding officer of 126 Squadron.

The squadron operates CH-47Fs alongside the RSAF’s existing CH-47SD Chinook, while the H225Ms are flown by 125 Squadron. Both units are located at Sembawang Air Base, where a ceremony was held on April 11 to mark the full operational capability milestone. 


A mixed fleet of CH-47Fs and CH-47SDs is also flown by the RSAF’s existing heavy lift helicopter unit 127 Squadron, while an RSAF training detachment at the Australian Army Aviation Training Centre in Oakey, Australia, is also operating CH-47Fs.


During the ceremony at Sembawang Air Base, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen highlighted the significance of the milestone in strengthening the RSAF’s ability to perform a wide range of missions including HADR.

He said: “These two new helicopter platforms enhance cross-service integration, allowing the RSAF to better support army and navy troop and equipment lifts.”

Dr Ng also highlighted the real-world missions that both helicopter types have already undertaken, noting that an H225M evacuated a crew member of an oil tanker who needed urgent medical attention while the ship was about 120km off Singapore.


Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (third from left) at the ceremony held at Sembawang Air Base on April 11 to mark the full operational capability milestone. 


This is part of the 24/7 search and rescue stand-by operations provided by the RSAF, for which the H225Ms assumed responsibility from May 2022. The first H225Ms were delivered in 2021, and the RSAF has been progressively working these helicopters up to full operational capability since then.

Meanwhile, two CH-47Fs based in Oakey had assisted with flood assistance efforts in the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales in March 2022.

The CH-47F can carry either 52 troops, 24 stretchers with medical support, or up to 12,700kg in underslung cargo, while the H225M can carry more than 20 personnel, 11 stretchers with medical support, or 4,750kg in underslung cargo.

Despite the latter’s more modest payload capacity, the former commanding officer of 125 Squadron, Lieutenant-Colonel Joe Ee Pinn Hwee, said one advantage of the H225M is that it can land in smaller spaces due to its smaller size – at 19.5m long, it is 10.5m shorter than the CH-47F.

“It’s like having a fleet of big trucks and small pickups – the intent is to serve slightly different needs and purposes, and having a separate fleet offers us the operational flexibility to do different things,” he said.

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