The Seahawk crew at the air show told Defense News that the two helicopters were delivered by Sikorsky from the United States in January 2018. This brings Singapore’s fleet of Seahawks to eight, with the previous six helicopters in service since the first ones were delivered in 2010.
The helicopter at the static display at the Singapore Airshow carries the serial 253, although traces of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration registration N1025J can still be seen on its rear fuselage.
According to the FAA database, the registration number is reserved by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Connecticut. These registrations are used on the aircraft when undergoing flight tests in the United States.
Although operated by 123 Squadron of the Republic of Singapore Air Force and flown by its pilots, the sensor operators using the L3 Ocean Systems Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) and tactical coordination officers (TACCO) monitoring the Telephonics AN/APS-143 radar in the main cabin are naval personnel.
The crew also told Defense News that the pair of newly delivered helicopters are in what they described as Block 2 configuration, with improved software and the ability for the TACCOs to operate the electro-optical turret mounted on the nose.
Singapore has also used the Seahawk in the maritime security role, with Seahawks being embarked on Republic of Singapore Navy ships on two deployments for anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden as part of the multinational Combined Task Force 151.
In this role, the Seahawks are fitted with a 7.62mm general purpose machine gun and have the HELRAS removed.
Singapore’s Seahawks are based at the main Air Force helicopter base at Sembawang in northern Singapore, and they also deploy on the Navy’s six Formidable-class frigates. They are also conducting landing trials on Singapore’s littoral mission vessels, which are currently being introduced into service.