MELBOURNE, Australia — Singapore has taken delivery of its first new transport helicopters from Airbus, as the Southeast Asian nation takes the next step in recapitalizing its transport rotorcraft fleet.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force, or RSAF, said on Monday that it has received its first H225M medium-lift transport helicopters from the European firm, which will replace the RSAF’s existing fleet of AS332 Super Pumas from the same manufacturer.
The first helicopters were delivered on board a chartered Antonov heavy lift transport aircraft from Airbus Helicopters’ facilities in Marignane Airport in Marseille, France. Singapore did not disclose how many helicopters were delivered in this first tranche, although Defense News understands that three helicopters arrived in Singapore last week.
The H225M is based on the Super Puma and looks broadly similar to its predecessor, although it is fitted with new engines, new avionics and an enlarged main cabin that Airbus Helicopters says is capable of carrying up to 28 troops in normal cabin seats, or 14 in energy-absorbing wall-mounted seats.
Singapore’s H225Ms are also fitted with a nose mounted electro-optical turret capable of transmitting full motion video in low light conditions, along with a defensive suite believed to be made by Elbit Systems. Defense News also understands at least some of the follow-on aircraft for Singapore will be fitted with a dorsal dome antenna believed to house satellite communications equipment.
The RSAF says that the H225Ms will be used for a wide spectrum of operations, including search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as well as Maritime Security operations. Singapore’s transport helicopter fleet is also regularly used to conduct aeromedical evacuation missions from ships plying through nearby waters, which are some of the busiest in the world for commercial maritime traffic.
The Southeast Asian island nation has also not disclosed how many H225Ms it has ordered, although its final number will likely be around 30 helicopters.
Singapore has also ordered the Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavylift helicopter to replace the 16 older Chinooks it has in service. The first of those systems are already flying in the United States, with deliveries to Singapore expected later this year. Some of these will be assigned to a RSAF helicopter training detachment stationed in Oakey, Australia.
Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News.