The Singaporean detachment at Oakey celebrated its 20th year at the base in 2018. (RSAF)
Defence has confirmed that Singapore will be increasing its Boeing CH-47 Chinook training footprint in Australia, by increasing the number of helicopters stationed at the Army Aviation Training Centre in Oakey, Queensland to 10.
The helicopters will be drawn from the fleet of 16 CH-47Fs currently on order by Singapore. Under the Oakey Agreement signed between Australia and Singapore in 1996, the land-scarce southeast Asian country is allowed to base up to 16 helicopters at Oakey for training and to support Singaporean military exercises in Australia.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) currently has five older CH-47D Chinooks at Oakey, with the detachment of 10 AS332M Super Puma medium lift helicopters previously at Oakey having ceased operations in 2019.
Both Australia and Singapore declined to comment on whether the RSAF – which is replacing the Super Pumas with the Airbus H225M Caracal – will also station the Caracal in Australia.
Under the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative, Singapore will increase the number of soldiers allowed to train in Queensland from 7,000 to 14,000 annually. It will also start training at the Greenvale Training Area near Townsville, in addition to the Shoalwater Bay Training Area where it has been training at since the 1990s.