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Shoalwater Bay, Australia – The rhythmic sound of helicopter blades and heavy downwash traversed the open fields as waves of soldiers emerged from the Chinook and headed for nearby shrubbery.

This was early Saturday morning at Wallaby Exercise at the Shoalwater Bay training area in Queensland, Australia, where Elite Guards carried out a joint mission between the Singapore Army and Air Force.

Among the squad was Captain Zara Nicole Toe, who led her company out of the Chinook to the safe trees as part of a series of missions performed during training. Many of which are not possible in Singapore.

The 27-year-old commander of Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion of the Singapore Guards, told reporters after landing:

Exercise Wallaby is the largest overseas exercise of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). The exercise, which involves more than 4,040 soldiers, resumed in earnest after being canceled in 2020 and scaled back in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Captain Toe and about 120 men were airlifted by the new CH47-F Chinook, a version of the helicopter that entered service in 2021.

The Chinook, which operates in three waves, also lowered a vehicle suspended under its belly. In one wave they were flying alongside, also supported by Apaches (assault helicopters).

“The large training area here has allowed us to carry out more complex operations that require a higher degree of coordination and cooperation,” said Captain Toh.

“The helicopter-mounted operation we just undertook really shows the integration between those services.”

One of the Apaches supporting the operation was piloted by 33-year-old Captain Joash Heng.

Training time during Exercise Wallaby is valuable, as flying together in large “packages” of multiple aircraft is usually not possible in Singapore’s limited airspace. SAF troops and flyboys enjoy open space in Australia during exercises abroad

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