Singapore Armed Forces Parachute Team

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The Singapore Armed Forces Parachute Team (SAFPT) is best known for its free fall displays at the annual National Day Parade held in Singapore since its first appearance in 1989 as a formalised team, as opposed to sporadic displays since the 1970s by members of the Singapore Commandos Formation and recently, the first member from the Naval Diving Unit. With the main tasks of putting up display jumps and to represent the SAF in competitions, the team adopted the name Red Lions as part of its team identity in 1996.

Organisation[edit]

The SAFPT comprises two entities, namely the display jumpers themselves, and the "central nucleus". Basic qualification for a display jumper is a minimum of 180 jumps, with its members drawn only from amongst the Commandos and the Naval Diving Unit as they are the only formations which are operationally-trained in military freefall. Training is usually conducted on weekends to avoid affecting operational responsibilities during the work week, as all freefallers are full-time servicemen.

The central nucleus support the display teams's logistical and administrative needs, and plan and co-ordinate their training programme. As such, most of them are Parachute Jump Instructors from the Parachute Training Wing.

Competitions[edit]

As representing the SAF is part of the team's two main responsibilities, the SAFPT has participated and clinched awards in various competitions such as the Malaysia Prime Minister Challenge Trophy for Accuracy and the Australian Defence Force Parachuting Championship for Accuracy.

The SAF's Red Lions Parachuting Team from the Commando Formation and Naval Diving Unit beat 16 teams from 11 countries to clinch the top award in the 12th Asiania Four-way Formation Skydiving Championship, held from 29 October to 7 November at Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. The team, from the Commando Formation, also achieved the 1st Runner's up position behind a team from Russia, in the 1st Fujairah International Open Category Four-way Formation Skydiving Championships 2008. [1]

Safety[edit]

Attention paid towards training safety has resulted in few incidents affecting team members, although a bad fall during a full-dress rehearsal for the National Day Parade, 2005 by Master Sergeant Chua Koon San[1] raised concerns and speculation that the freefall performances may be cancelled. The Ministry of Defence however issued a reassurance that the show would carry on.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Red Lion Freefaller Injured" (press release). Ministry of Defence (Singapore). 9 Jul 2005. 
  2. ^ Rita Zahara (13 July 2005). "Mindef says it will not cancel free-fall show at NDP". Channel NewsAsia.