AFTER A 30-minute ‘end-of-service’ flight around the island, the last Bell UH-1H Iroquois helicopters in service with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) made their final landing at their base at Sembawang on July II, ending almost three decades of service by the type in RSAF service. The Hueys had been operated throughout their RSAF service by 120 ‘Kestrel’ Squadron, the RSAF’s oldest operational squadron, which was originally formed in 1969, although it did not gain its UH-lHs until 1977.
Despite the official withdrawl of the type from the RSAF, this is not quite yet the end for the RSAF UH-1H however. Five examples that currently form a permanent RSAF detachment to Brunei will continue flying there for a short while longer, but they will also finally be retired later this year.
The Huey has been the workhorse of the RSAF and achieved many ‘firsts’ with the RSAF. It was the RSAF’s first gunship helicopter, having been fitted with rockets and guns as early as 1984, though not used in the armed role since the RSAF took delivery of ASS50 Fennec light attack helicopters. The type also poineered RSAF search-and-rescue operations.
More recently, RSAF Hueys were deployed to Timor-Leste in 2002 for peacekeeping support operations as part of Singapore’s contribution to the United Nations efforts there. The UH-lH’s tasks will now be taken over by the RSAF’s Chinook and Super Puma helicopters.
All personnel from 120 Squadron will be re-assigned to other units, some converting to types such as the Apache, Chinook and Super Puma.