SINGAPORE — Singapore will retire its Boeing CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift helicopters as it continues to take deliveries of new CH-47Fs from the United States, the Republic of Singapore Air Force chief has confirmed.
The retirement effort suggests the service will retain its newer CH-47SD helicopters to serve alongside the CH-47Fs, increasing its fleet of Chinooks to 26.
Responding to the media in writing in the lead-up to the Singapore Airshow, Maj. Gen. Kelvin Khong said Singapore’s five CH-47Ds, which were used to train Air Force personnel while the aircraft were based in the United States and Australia, “will be progressively drawn down.”
The CH-47Ds are the survivors of six helicopters acquired by Singapore’s Air Force in 1994. These were assigned to the Peace Prairie detachment at Grand Prairie, Texas, with the state’s National Guard before they were moved to the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in Queensland, Australia, in 2018.
Singapore then bolstered its fleet of Chinooks in 1998 with 10 CH-47SD helicopters, which were equipped digital engine controls and glass cockpits. All of the Air Force’s Chinooks are fitted with fuel tanks larger than comes standard as well as a radar in the nose, with the CH-47SD versions serving with 127 Squadron at Sembawang Air Base.
In 2015, Singapore announced it had ordered the CH-47F to replace its “older Chinooks” under a Direct Commercial Sale contract with Boeing. The government did not disclose the number of helicopters ordered, although civil registration data from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration indicated Singapore ordered 16.
Deliveries of the CH-47Fs started in May 2021, with the first helicopters going to the Oakey training detachment. Ten of these will eventually be based in Australia, with the remaining six bound for Singapore.
The first CH-47Fs have already arrived in Singapore, with a chartered Ukrainian civilian freighter aircraft bringing two helicopters from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Singapore last month.
Singapore’s CH-47Fs are also fitted with the larger fuel tanks and a radar in the nose, as well as an integrated electronic warfare system and a satellite communications dome. The EW system includes laser and radar warning receivers, a missile approach warning system, and decoy dispensers for self-protection.
Singapore’s Air Force also upgraded its fleet of CH-47SDs with similar equipment, although they differ slightly in appearance to that of the CH-47Fs.
Defense News previously identified the self-protection system on the older helicopters as the All-in-Small defensive suite by Israeli company Elbit Systems, although the provenance of the CH-47F’s equivalent systems is unknown.
Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News.