Lifting Off!

Say hello to the RSAF’s H225M medium lift helicopters and the CH-47F heavy lift helicopters.

Meant to replace the ageing Super Pumas and older Chinooks, both helicopters bring with them a range of new capabilities. Our engineers acquired and integrated the systems of the two new helicopters.

With about 20 per cent longer range than its predecessor, the H225M medium lift helicopters will complement the CH-47F helicopters to meet the SAF’s lift requirements more efficiently for a wide spectrum of operations. These include search and rescue, aeromedical evacuation, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

The CH-47F heavy lift helicopter also features new mission systems such as an electro-optic infrared system, and a health and usage monitoring system.

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The H225M medium lift helicopter.
Photo: Airbus Helicopters

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The CH-47F heavy lift helicopter.
Photo: Boeing

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A multidisciplinary DSTA team with expertise in aircraft and avionics took charge of the programme, which required managing both the aircraft production as well as the integration of airborne systems

“Communication and teamwork among our team and industry partners were instrumental in keeping the programme on track. As the overall systems integrator, we had to coordinate everything closely to ensure that the various pieces came together seamlessly,” said Senior Programme Manager (Air Systems) Melissa Teoh.

This meant ensuring that the various parties were clear on their roles and responsibilities in the interfacing, implementation and performance verification of the different subsystems, as those were key to the timely completion of design and production. The team also had to balance various factors such as the mission systems’ performance and the platform’s interoperability in order to work out optimal solutions.

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Inspecting the first batch of CH-47F.

On top of the many things to juggle, the team also had to deal with the challenges COVID-19 threw into their well-laid plans.

“Because of travel restrictions, we had to devise new means of conducting programme milestones across geographical boundaries and time zones, and rely on virtual technologies such as video teleconferencing. That allowed us to keep the aircraft integration and testing schedule on track,” explained Senior Programme Manager (Air Systems) Li Zhike.