Watching our skies like an I-Hawk

Watching our skies like an I-Hawk

Under the cover of darkness while the rest of Singapore is still asleep, a unit is out defending the skies at a classified location.

With strict discipline on the use of light-emitting devices, individuals from the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) 163 Squadron deploy the Improved- Hawk (I-Hawk) surface-to-air missile system that is part of a multi-layered defence shield.

The I-Hawk is a semi-active homing system that can hit targets up to 40km away, with missiles flying at speeds of up to 2.7 times the speed of sound.

Each missile has a 85 per cent probability of hitting its target.

With rotating crews comprising national serviceman and regulars, personnel from 163 Squadron are on permanent round-the-clock standby to defend Singapore from any air intrusion.

The New Paper had an exclusive look at the life of these air defenders during an exercise the squadron took part in over two nights recently.

While the unit's personnel trained diligently, we could feel their comradeship, especially during lull periods such as meal breaks.

Crew chief Corporal Gordon Tan said that camaraderie felt by his crew of four is developed through the time they have spent together.

Calling themselves a "brotherhood", Cpl Tan and his crew plan birthday surprises for one another and go on movie marathons when they are not on duty.

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