NEW SAFETY AND TRAINING MEASURES
Among the safety measures rolled out, the size of this year’s landing zone at the Padang has been doubled, and will be situated further away from the spectator stands, said MINDEF.
Jumpers will be less susceptible to turbulence caused by eddy currents – air circulation that is created when wind encounters a solid object – and thermal effects. It will also give them more manoeuvring space, said the Defence Ministry.
The team has also introduced a new two-week Display Jump Preparatory Training programme conducted closer to National Day. Moving the high-intensity training closer to National Day was one of the review panel’s recommendations.
The programme, conducted in Thailand this year, recreates conditions of the jump the Red Lions will take during the parade, with a similar drop zone design and conditions, said LTC Neo.
“We designed the training drop zone to be similar to the layout of the Padang so that we allow the Red Lions to practise their landing approaches or the wind conditions that’s prevalent in the Padang, so that they’re very familiar with the landing approaches,” he added.
“And they get to practise the contingencies among their team members, how to react if the plan doesn’t hold in place.”
For the 2022 parade, the Red Lions team underwent similar training in September 2021 to prepare for the parade. This year, the programme was conducted in April and May, just months before on-site rehearsals are due to commence in June.
The Red Lions’ two-week Skills Enhancement Programme, which helps jumpers train their essential canopy piloting skills, also resumed this year, and the Red Lions team went through the programme in the United States in March. It was suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The two programmes will allow the Red Lions to practise high-intensity jumps, making about four to six jumps per day, or 40 to 50 jumps over each course.
“When we did the review, the external panel … they all unanimously said that if you want a good jumper, you need to expose them to as many scenarios, as close to the conditions that you would expect to land when you go to the Padang,” said Deputy Inspector-General with the Singapore Armed Forces’ Inspector-General Office Kevin Goh.
This is why the panel’s recommendations were to intensify the training closer to the NDP and replicate the conditions as closely as possible, he added.
“So in terms of the training system, in terms of the safety culture, the panel didn’t find any issues with the commandos. It’s just how to … make the training a little bit better based on their experience.”