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2006 - Present

“Constant and close command attention is required to adapt to and meet new and evolving threats and tasks. The RSAF therefore needs new and more flexible and capable structures to better undertake the full spectrum of operations from peace to war.”

Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence, 2007

2000s

SAF-SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMME (SSPP)

The SSPP was started in the mid-2000s to engage youths on the RSAF's role in defending Singapore. As part of the SSPP, students from polytechnics and junior colleges have visited the Air Bases and interacted with RSAF personnel about their know-how and work experiences. The programme was formalised in 2011 for the RSAF to better engage the public.

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During these visits, students view aircraft static displays and get a tour of the Air Bases to gain a better understanding of their operations.

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RSAF personnel, including Full-time National Servicemen, are on hand to share their experiences.

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This initiative aims to engage the youths in Singapore and raise their awareness of the RSAF's role in defending the country.


COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMME (COP)

RSAF Air Bases engage the community in their vicinity through the COP to help the public gain a deeper and better understanding of the RSAF and its work. Similar to the SSPP, the COP was also formalised in 2011.

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Through the COP, the RSAF hopes the public can better appreciate the Air Force's commitment and contribution to national defence and deterrence

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Members of the community get to interact with static aircraft displays of the RSAF's assets such as the C-130 aircraft.

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Members of the public are also given personalised mementos to remember their visit.


JANUARY 2006

THE FIRST INITIAL ENTRY ROTARY WING COURSE

The first Initial Entry Rotary Wing (IERW) course was held on 31 January 2006 at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Trainees were trained on the Bell TH-67 Creek helicopter and learned the basics of rotary wing operations. After completing the overseas course, the pilots returned to 124 Squadron for the ­final phase of their training before being posted to their operational squadrons.

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Bell TH-67 Creek helicopter that was used for the first IERW course.


MAY 2006

JAVA EARTHQUAKE RELIEF

On 27 May 2006, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck Central Java near Yogyakarta, causing flash floods and massive mudslides that hit five districts in northern Thailand. About 6,000 died from the quake and many were left homeless. The RSAF responded swiftly with two C-130s to transport humanitarian supplies, a 35-member SAF medical team, and a 43-member Singapore Civil Defence Force team to Yogyakarta. Another C-130 sent tents, blankets, and medical supplies to Phitsanulok in Thailand during the 10-day operation. Then training in Thailand, the RSAF’s Chinook from 127 Squadron was also quickly deployed to aid in Search and Rescue operations, evacuating casualties and transporting civilians out of troubled areas. 

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The RSAF team worked closely with the local authorities to transport basic necessities and provide medical assistance to areas affected by the earthquake.

“Singapore is our friend. We had a good experience from the tsunami. The second day after the tsunami, a team from Singapore was already there! I do appreciate what the government and the people of Singapore are doing.”

Fahmi Idris, Indonesian Minister of Industry, 2006 on Singapore's swift assistance in both medical aid and the distribution of supplies

“The deployment was very rapid. Within less than 24 hours, we were on the way to Yogyakarta…the amount of teamwork made me extremely proud to wear the Singapore flag on my uniform. I feel that we were doing something worthwhile, reaching out to the villagers, to the people in need.”

1SG Karrie Yap, Senior Medic 3IC, Paya Lebar Air Base, 2006 who was part of the 35-member medical team

“We feel it is a great challenge and an honour to conduct this mission, and to show compassion for those affected.”

LTC Chin Pak Chuen, Commanding Officer, 127 Squadron, 2006 who commanded the detachment that returned on 31 May 2006


AUGUST 2006

INTEGRATED AIR MISSION TRAINING

Commissioned on 21 August 2006, the Air Mission Trainer (AMT) was a multi-role combat aircraft trainer that allowed aircrew to train under mission-oriented conditions with varying complexities in a systematic yet realistic manner. The AMT could train up to 12 pilots simultaneously and allowed the RSAF to overcome the constraint of limited airspace for training in Singapore.

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Second Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen trying his hand at the AMT, assisted by LTC Benedict Yeo, Commanding Officer of the Flight Simulator Centre.

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Dr Ng officiating at the commissioning ceremony of the AMT at the Flight Simulator Centre in Paya Lebar Air Base.


JANUARY 2007 TO MARCH 2010

ORGANISATIONAL TRANSFORMATION

To meet organisational demands and accommodate greater operational tempo, the RSAF was revamped into five new operational Commands and one training Command. These six Commands enhance the RSAF’s ability to support the SAF in complex environments, allowing it to contribute more effectively to the SAF’s operations across the air, land, and sea domains.


The new RSAF Command structure comprises the following:


1.    Air Defence and Operations Command (ADOC)

2.    Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Command (UC)

3.    Participation Command (PC)

4.    Air Combat Command (ACC)

5.    Air Power Generation Command (APGC)

6.    Air Force Training Command (AFTC)

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The six Command crests that were designed to complement the RSAF’s transformation.

“Now that we’re clearer about how the Air Force’s structure and technologies will be developed, we are clearer about what sort of organisational structure the Air Force will have. It now becomes much easier for us to know what the attributes of the Air Force officer are, and the Air Force man and woman that we need to inculcate and develop in the coming years.”

BG Ng Chee Khern, Chief of Air Force, 2007

“The advantage in the battlefield of the future lies with the force that can harness technology to make maximum use of these transformational capabilities. Platforms, manned and unmanned, weapons, and sensors that are fully networked into such a fighting system, will have their combat power magnified many times…The transformation of the SAF to exploit these rapidly emerging possibilities is a strategic imperative. But it is not something that can be achieved overnight…It will ultimately lead to changes in organisations, less demand for conventional platforms, more demand for less visible technologies like information systems, precision weapons, electronic warfare systems, unmanned platform technologies, and a new type of soldier who is trained to exploit these capabilities.”

Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence, 2004

“The system has largely stabilised…and most of our force-structuring developments conceived in the 1990s have also reached the tail end of the system operationalisation phase and their respective operating doctrines have also been developed. The time is now ripe to start conceptualising and reorganising for the next phase of the RSAF’s transformation. It will be one of the most fundamental and extensive restructuring efforts that the RSAF has undergone. Even in the early stages of conceptualisation, a significant amount of introspection and thought has been put into determining the correct principles governing the changes. Even though some capacity would need to be set aside to further develop key areas in the restructuring, safety and operational readiness should never be compromised.”

BG Ng Chee Khern, Chief of Air Force, 2006 during his address to junior and senior RSAF commanders

“The inherent characteristics of air power – flexibility and mobility – make it well suited to meet expanding and varied challenges…Air power has also evolved to encompass new concepts and capabilities brought about by advances in technology.”

Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence, 2008 on the growing potential of air power in his opening address at the Global Air Power Conference


JANUARY 2007

AIR DEFENCE AND OPERATIONS COMMAND

Air Defence and Operations Command (ADOC) represents the RSAF’s high-readiness core and combines the RSAF's planning, control, and execution functions for more effective management of the full spectrum of air operations. This includes air defence operations for Singapore’s homeland security, multinational Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions, and peace support operations. ADOC also ensures the operational readiness of the RSAF's Command and Control as well as its Ground Based Air Defence units. It was for these reasons that ADOC was the first Command to be set up, as an anchor for the rest of the RSAF's operations during its reorganisation. Introduced in phases over two years, this restructuring approach helped manage the transition and minimise disruption to the RSAF’s existing operations.

ADOC was formed by combining parts of the Air Defence and Systems Division with parts of the Air Operations Department in the RSAF’s headquarters.

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ADOC was inaugurated by Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean on 5 January 2007.

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The Air Defence and Operations Command crest.

Singapore is currently defended by a multi-layered air defence system which is under the charge of the RSAF’s Air Defence and Operations Command, or ADOC. This round-the-clock capability means that we are always vigilant and highly responsive to any aerial threat that we may face, in peace or in war.”

Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence, 2007 during a demonstration of the Networked Air Defence system

“In a complex and uncertain strategic environment, the operational demands on the SAF and the Air Force have become more varied and continue to mount. On a daily basis, the SAF must provide vigilant and robust island air defence, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure the sovereignty of our inter-territorial airspace and guard against transnational terrorist threats. It must also be ready to deploy for contingency operations in our regions and beyond, including peace support missions and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations, often at a moment’s notice.”

Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence, 2007 during his address at the inauguration of ADOC

“I find that the synergy now is so much better, the moment something happens, everybody comes in and assists and that makes you feel very good because you’re part of a team.”

MAJ Foo Kim Foong, Branch Head, HQ ADOC,
on her experience in ADOC


JANUARY 2007

TRAINING 3RD GENERATION ROTARY WING PILOTS

The EC-120B Colibri was introduced in January 2007 as a 3rd Generation helicopter trainer for the RSAF's Rotary Wings Course, which was jointly conducted with Singapore Technologies (ST) Aerospace, and replaced the ageing AS-550 Fennec.

Leveraging on ST Aerospace’s existing engineering capabilities, the RSAF was able to train the trainee pilots with a state-of-the-art platform at lower operational costs while continuing to maintain high flying standards.

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Unlike its predecessor, the EC-120B has a glass cockpit and digital screens for pilots to receive information

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Chief of Air Force BG Ng Chee Khern (centre) unveiling the RSAF logo on an EC-120B at the inauguration ceremony.

“The new trainer will narrow the transition gap from trainer to operational platform…Students at this early stage will acquire the system management skills without compromising the basic handling of the aircraft. This advancement mirrors the overall transformation towards the 3rd Generation RSAF.”

LTC Lee Hock Hua, Commanding Officer, 124 Squadron


MARCH 2007

GULFSTREAM G550 AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING (G550-AEW)

The RSAF acquired the G550-AEW aircraft to replace the ageing fleet of E-2C Hawkeyes. Housed at Tengah Air Base and operated by 111 Squadron, the G550-AEW provides over-the-horizon surveillance to create strategic depth; its advanced capabilities give it greater endurance, speed, and detection range. 

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With a detection range of more than 200 nautical miles, the G550-AEW allows the RSAF to see further and respond more effectively to aerial threats in various operational situations.

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Since the arrival of the first G550-AEW, 111 Squadron’s aircrew and maintenance crew have undergone intensive training to operate and maintain the aircraft, as well as to integrate it in the SAF’s round-the-clock operations.

“The G550-AEW, together with the RSAF's fighter squadrons and Ground Based Air Defence units, are a powerful network that represents a quantum jump in the SAF's ability to identify potential aerial threats early and respond decisively, in peace or in war.”

Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, 2012 who officiated at the ceremony to mark the G550-AEW's achievement of full operational capability


APRIL 2007

NETWORKED AIR DEFENCE

In April 2007, the RSAF unveiled the Networked Air Defence system, an enhancement to the RSAF’s air defence capabilities with new platforms and networking technology. By retaining the robustness of the traditional multi-layered air defence shield, responsiveness and precision were enhanced through tight integration with individual weapon systems. The Giraffe Agile Multiple Beam radar, Upgraded Improved-Homing All the Way Killer (I-HAWK), and Mechanised Igla were also introduced to improve the Networked Air Defence system’s range and response to aerial threats.

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A diagram showing how different platforms and weapons are linked in the Networked Air Defence system.

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The Mechanised Igla's Weapon Fire Unit (centre) and other Integrated Fire Units.

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The upgraded I-HAWK provides low-to-medium-level air defence as part of the Networked Air Defence.

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The Giraffe Agile Multiple Beam Radar provides low-level air surveillance in the Networked Air Defence. 

“We have built up a robust multi-layered, multi-spectrum air-defence capability, but most of the systems are old so we will look to replace them individually in the sense that each system that we introduce will be more capable. At the same time, however, we are going to build a much better network that will allow us to use the sensors and shooters in a more networked way.”

MG Ng Chee Khern, Chief of Air Force, 2008 on air defence as a continuous work in progress

 

“By networking an array of existing and new sensors, together with advanced weapon and command and control systems, the Networked Air Defence system greatly enhances the air situation picture and enables faster, more effective response to any aerial threat. A networked system is also faster and more robust…For instance, an airborne threat can be picked up by more than one sensor and assigned to the most appropriate shooter…Other sensors and shooters in the system will also continue to deal with the threat, even if one sensor or shooter is damaged.”

Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence, 2007 during his speech at the Networked Air Defence demonstration

 

“The old shoulder-launched system is very simple, while the new system brings a lot more advanced technology to give us more awareness and responsiveness in battlefield integration.”

CPT (NS) Tan Boon How, Battery Commander, 6 Divisional Air Defence Artillery Battalion, 2007 on the sophistication of the Mechanised Igla


MAY 2007

UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE COMMAND

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Command (UC) underscores the SAF’s growing emphasis on the development of unmanned capabilities for its operations. Its main role is to manage daily UAV flight operations and training standards, and drive the development of unmanned systems capability and surveillance support for the SAF.

UC was first inaugurated on 28 May 2007 by Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean. The Command was reorganised on 30 April 2015 in order to play a bigger role in exploiting the air domain for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, as well as strengthen the SAF’s capability to generate actionable intelligence. UC includes the UAV Group, Operations Development Group, Imagery Exploitation Group, and Air Engineering and Logistics Group, as well as 801 and 811 Squadrons.

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Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean (centre) at the inauguration ceremony of UC.

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The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Command crest.

“The inauguration of UAV Command today is an important milestone. It will spearhead the development of the SAF's UAV capabilities and further strengthen the integrated operational capabilities of the 3rd Generation SAF.”

Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence, 2007 at the inauguration ceremony of UC

 

“Everyone can build a drone, but what matters is the sensors you fit on them and one’s ability to use them in a network where the information they gather makes sense.”

Chris Pocock, Defence Editor, Aviation International News, 2006 on the operational potential of UAVs

 

“If we bridge the operation-intellgence divide well, we will conduct operations with timely and accurate intelligence updates, and we will proactively gather intelligence with a thorough understanding of the information required.”

BG Ng Chee Khern, Chief of Air Force, 2007 on how UAVs can improve the SAF’s mission effectiveness


MAY 2007

HERMES 450 UAV

The RSAF acquired the Hermes 450 (H-450) UAV in May 2007 as a step towards enhancing the SAF’s capabilities to cope with the challenges of modern warfare without having more soldiers. The H-450, together with the RSAF’s existing fleet of Searcher UAVs, is operated by 116 Squadron at Tengah Air Base.

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The Hermes 450 complements the RSAF’s fleet of Searcher UAVs in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations.

“The Hermes 450 is one of the most capable UAVs in its class. Compared to the older UAVs, the Hermes 450 enhances our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities with its extended endurance, advanced avionics, and more capable sensors."

 Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, 2015 who officiated at a ceremony held at Murai Camp to mark the H-450's achievement of full operational capability

 

“Pretty much every forward-thinking armed force in the world has been increasingly moving to develop its UAV capabilities. But Singapore, in particular, has been increasingly in the lead of UAVs, both in terms of induction of UAVs into service and the development of its own family of UAVs.”

Robert Karniol, Asia-Pacific Editor, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 2007

 

“Seeing is believing. It helps you make better decisions. The UAV provides a real-time bird’s eye-view of the battle. This can be of tremendous value to commanders and soldiers in the field.”

MAJ Augustine Tan, Flight Commander, 128 Squadron, 2007 on being a ground commander for the UAV


MAY 2007

AFGHANISTAN RECONSTRUCTION EFFORT

From 16 May 2007 to 22 June 2013, the SAF contributed 492 troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a mission led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to aid in rebuilding Afghanistan after years of war.

Together with the Army Intelligence community, the RSAF’s 128 Squadron deployed a UAV detachment as part of the operations. It was the first time that the SAF had deployed a UAV in an active conflict zone. The SAF also built health facilities; provided dental, medical, and surgical treatment; and helped enhance the ISAF's security with its weapon locating radar, UAV, and imagery analysis teams. 

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The UAV task group was the single largest deployment the SAF had in Afghanistan.

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More than 350 SAF personnel were deployed to Afghanistan to participate in this NATO-led ISAF operation.

“The Singapore deployment is vital to what we are doing. It provides over-watch for all of our soldiers every day. They are on time, on target every day."

COL James Creighton, Commander, Combined Team Uruzgan, 2010 on the UAV task group's critical role in the mission to provide information on ground conditions


JULY 2007

PROJECT CARDINAL

The RSAF embarked on Project Cardinal in July 2007 to drive its people development efforts in its transformation towards a 3rd Generation RSAF. This project sought to help RSAF personnel realise their full potential in meeting the RSAF’s missions. 

The three figures in the Cardinal logo, each shaped in the form of the letter ‘C’, symbolises the RSAF’s people, who are fully imbued with the 3Cs of competencies, core values, and commitment. The different shades of blue bring out the diversity of vocations across the RSAF, each unique in its own but yet having a common identity. The orientation of the three figures towards the same direction demonstrates the teamwork and unity in striving towards the RSAF’s common objective of being a First-class Air Force.

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The three figures in the Cardinal logo, each shaped in the form of the letter ‘C’, symbolises the RSAF’s people, who are fully imbued with the 3Cs of competencies, core values, and commitment. The different shades of blue bring out the diversity of vocations across the RSAF, each unique in its own but yet having a common identity. The orientation of the three figures towards the same direction demonstrates the teamwork and unity in striving towards the RSAF’s common objective of being a First-class Air Force.

“The success of the RSAF's transformation into the 3rd Generation Air Force will ultimately depend on its people, the competence of its people, and the commitment of its people in making the RSAF a first-class Air Force.”

LG Ng Yat Chung, Chief of Defence Force, 2006 on the airmen who form the backbone of the RSAF

 

“People development is a continuous and constantly evolving process. It is like running a marathon, where we must be consistent and pace ourselves accordingly. With committed airmen and effective leaders in the rank and file of the RSAF, we will be closer to effecting the desired cultural change that will ensure the long-term sustainability of our transformation efforts and future operational readiness. Commitment will be our anchor for this journey to develop the 3rd Generation airman who is highly competent and grounded in strong core values and military ethos.”

LTC Leong Kum Wah, Head, Air Training, 2007 on the importance of people development to the RSAF


JANUARY 2008

PARTICIPATION COMMAND

Participation Command (PC) was formed by combining components of air participation operations, such as helicopter units from Sembawang Air Base, divisional air participation operations from the former Air Defence and Systems Division, and terminal units from the former Tactical Air Support Command. PC enhances the SAF's ability to deliver the full range of air power capabilities to support both land and maritime forces; it is another hallmark of the RSAF’s vision to address the Army’s and Navy’s needs for training, capability development, and war fighting.

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PC was inaugurated on 4 January 2008 by Chief of Defence Force LG Desmond Kuek (second from left).

The Participation Command crest.
The Participation Command crest.

“Participation Command’s inauguration marks not only the third major step in the transformation of the RSAF, but also a key milestone for the 3rd Generation SAF.”

LG Desmond Kuek, Chief of Defence Force, 2008 at the third inauguration ceremony of the five operational Commands

 

“As a Chinook pilot, I’ve already been working with the Army and Navy for some years now. But PC is really about understanding the culture and way of operations to better coordinate and integrate with the other Services in the SAF.”

CPT Neo Aik Chiao, Pilot, 127 Squadron, 2008 on his experience of working in PC

 

“In the past, air support for Army operations was more fragmented…the Army would have to coordinate with the Tactical Air Support Command for air terminal support, Sembawang Air Base for helicopter assets, and Air Defence Systems Division for divisional air defence support. With these three functions now under one Command, the Air Force is able to provide a tightly integrated participation task force as part of the Army's and Navy’s operations.”

MAJ Sam Chee Chong, Branch Head, HQ PC, 2008 on how PC improves air support for land and maritime operations


JANUARY 2008

CESSNA INCIDENT

On the evening of 22 January 2008, a repeat of the September 11 terror attack almost occurred within Singapore’s airspace. It was nearing the end of the work day when Air Traffic Controllers detected an unknown light aircraft heading towards the island without an approved flight plan. The RSAF raised the alarm and called into action its air defence systems.

 

Despite bad weather conditions, two F-16D fighter jets took off at 6.42pm and managed to detect the errant aircraft, a Cessna 208 turboprop plane, with their on-board avionics. The RSAF’s Ground Based Air Defence units were also on standby.

 

After the Cessna’s pilot was warned to comply with instructions or risk getting shot down, the plane was escorted to land at Changi Airport, where the police and civil aviation authorities took over. That day, Singapore's airspace had to be closed for 50 minutes.

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The Cessna 208 that was intercepted by the RSAF.

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The incident made the news following the 50-minute closure of Singapore's airspace. 

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Aircrew were ordered to scramble when an unknown aircraft was detected heading towards Singapore with no approved flight plan.

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The two F-16D Pilots used their on-board avionics to detect the Cessna when they were activated in bad weather conditions.

“Looking back, this incident demonstrated the importance of the RSAF maintaining a high state of readiness, and the SAF maintaining 24/7 vigilance in homeland security, in order to safeguard our nation against any threats to our sovereignty.”

MAJ Stanley Selva, Pilot, Air Combat Command, 2008 who intercepted the Cessna 208 that flew into Singapore without an approved flight plan

 

“I still remember it clearly. In the midst of the hive of activity in our operations room, I looked around with immense pride. I saw the RSAF core values – professionalism and team excellence – in action. Everyone in the team performed their roles admirably.”

LTC Chow Tze Ming, Air Warfare Officer (Command, Control and Communications), 2008 on the RSAF's exemplary teamwork in response to the Cessna's intrusion


MAY 2008

EXERCISE LIGHTNING WARRIOR

Exercise Lightning Warrior was held at the Lohatla Combat Training Centre in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. More than 500 personnel from the Air Force and Army took part in the exercise, which showed that the SAF could employ a range of sensors and shooters to hunt and take out both static and mobile targets. Responsive air power was key to operational effectiveness, as the RSAF's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and AH-64D Apache helicopters complemented the Army's land-based sensors and shooters to enable the Division Strike Centre to pre-empt, target, and kill enemy rocket artillery batteries and air defence units.

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Exercise Lightning Warrior used new technology and concepts to allow the SAF to hunt down and destroy enemies in minutes.

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The SAF’s air-land integrated strike capability was strengthened with the use of Apache helicopters.

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles were used in the exercise for detecting and tracking targets.


MAY 2008

SICHUAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF

On 6 May 2008, China was hit by an earthquake that measured 7.9 on the Richter scale. About 69,200 people were killed and nearly 18,300 were missing. The earthquake was known as the deadliest earthquake to hit China since 1976 and left about 4.8 million people homeless.

 

The SAF responded by donating to Chengdu a relief package worth US$80,000 to support the People’s Liberation Army's relief efforts in China.

 

Two C-130 aircraft from 122 Squadron were deployed to ferry medical supplies, food, and other relief supplies, as well as a Singapore Civil Defence Force disaster assistance and rescue team, to areas affected by the earthquake.

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The RSAF provided a transportation link between Singapore and China for relief supplies.


AUGUST 2008

AIR COMBAT COMMAND

Air Combat Command (ACC) integrates the RSAF's various fighter and transport aircraft, Command and Control, and sensor capabilities to carry out the full range of air combat operations required by the SAF. Despite being a new operational Command, ACC’s fighter and transport squadrons date back to the beginnings of the Air Force. ACC manages the RSAF’s daily flying activities, training standards, doctrine development, and the designing of system-level exercises and training. It also ensures that the RSAF’s fighter and transport aircraft are operationally ready.

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Air Combat Command and Air Power Generation Command were inaugurated on 28 August 2008 by Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean (third from left) to reflect their complementary nature.

The Air Combat Command crest.
The Air Combat Command crest.

“Air Combat Command will be responsible for the planning, control, and execution of the air battle in operations. It brings together all the fighter and transport squadrons that will carry out these tasks under a single Command, which will be responsible for training the pilots and aircrew to think and operate in a fully integrated way.”

Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence, 2008 at the inauguration ceremony of ACC and APGC 


AUGUST 2008

AIR POWER GENERATION COMMAND

Air Power Generation Command (APGC) was set up to generate air power to cope with the fast-paced operational tempo of air battle. It integrates the capabilities for launch and recovery platforms with the generation of aircraft to ensure robust, continuous, and responsive availability of air power. APGC ensures the development and operational readiness of air power generation capabilities through the Flying Control Squadrons, Field Protection Squadrons, Air Base Civil Engineering Squadrons, Air Engineering Logistics Groups, and Air Base Sustainment Squadrons. 

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APGC and ACC were inaugurated on 28 August 2008 to reflect their complementary nature.

The Air Power Generation Command crest.
The Air Power Generation Command crest.

“Air Power Generation Command facilitates the operations of Air Combat Command and the other RSAF Commands by servicing and turning around aircraft to ensure continuous and responsive delivery of air power. Air Power Generation Command integrates all the Air Bases across Singapore to provide seamless and effective support for flying operations.”

Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence, 2008 at the inauguration ceremony of ACC and APGC 


SEPTEMBER 2008

RSAF-ITE AEROSPACE ENGINEERING PARTNERSHIP

On 4 September 2008, the RSAF signed an agreement with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to tap ITE aerospace engineering students as future technicians for the RSAF. The partnership signified the commitment of the RSAF and ITE to jointly support aerospace engineering training. 

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The partnership is a joint effort by the RSAF and ITE to support aerospace engineering training.


OCTOBER 2008

RSAF BASIC FLIGHT TRAINING TRANSFORMATION

The RSAF transformed its flying training programme to produce more capable pilots to meet the 3rd Generation RSAF's operational requirements at lower costs. The highly advanced tandem-seat turboprop PC-21 aircraft trainer was selected as the S-211's replacement to support the Basic Wing Course in Pearce, Australia.

 

With the PC-21, trainee pilots built a strong foundation in flying fundamentals and enabled the RSAF to better train and evaluate their performance, creating a more robust and efficient pilot training system. 

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The PC-21 flying over Australia’s mountainous terrain.

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The PC-21 (right) replaced the S-211 as a trainer aircraft.


NOVEMBER 2008

INAUGURAL JOINT MILITARY TRAINING

The RSAF and the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted Joint Military Training (JMT) at Kalaikunda Air Force Station in Bengal, India, from 24 November to 17 December 2008. During the exercise, the RSAF deployed a total of 125 personnel, together with F-16C/D Fighting Falcon aircraft and Ground Based Air Defence units, alongside the IAF’s MiG-27 squadron.

 

With the vast space and unique terrain available at Kalaikunda Air Force Station, JMT provided a valuable opportunity for the two Air Forces to interact and train together in realistic and challenging conditions. 

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JMT participants from the RSAF and IAF.

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This exercise enhances the defence relations between both Air Forces through high-end training missions.

“We value the opportunity to train alongside our counterparts from India regularly in this Joint Military Training. It allows us to be exposed to a range of aircraft platforms, and enables us to strengthen the close and long-standing relationship between the RSAF and the IAF.”

LTC Stanley Selva, RSAF Detachment Commander, 2014 on the importance of Joint Military Training


FEBRUARY 2009

TRAINING TRANSPORT PILOTS WITH ST AEROSPACE ENGINEERING

In February 2009, ST Aerospace Engineering partnered the RSAF in training RSAF trainee pilots. During the Transport Wing Course, trainee pilots used ST Aerospace Engineering's King Air C90GTi, which served as the new trainer for the RSAF’s future transport pilots.

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The C90GTi replaced the C90B in 2009, providing trainee pilots with a glass cockpit environment to aid their transition to operational transport platforms.


APRIL 2009

COUNTER-PIRACY OPERATION IN THE GULF OF ADEN

On 9 April 2009, the SAF deployed a task group to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Bringing together elements from all three Services, the operation was the SAF’s first distant counter-piracy mission, also known as Operation Blue Sapphire. Its key objectives were to deter, disrupt, and suppress piracy to protect global maritime commerce, boost maritime security, and secure the freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. The task group included two Super Puma helicopters and a Seahawk naval helicopter from the RSAF as well as the Landing Ship Tank RSS Persistence

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The two Super Puma Helicopters that were deployed for the SAF’s first distant counter-piracy operation.

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A Fokker 50 group that was deployed for the anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden.

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Chief of Air Force MG Hoo Cher Mou interacting with RSAF personnel during a visit to the RSS Tenacious.

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Servicemen on board the RSS Tenacious waiting for the gangway to be lowered during their homecoming.

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Families waiting to be reunited with their loved ones.


NOVEMBER 2009

PEACE CARVIN V DETACHMENT

The RSAF's Peace Carvin V detachment was established in October 2008 as part of the United States Air Force’s 428th Fighter Squadron, and comprised about 250 personnel. The detachment held air-to-air and air-to-ground training as well as development programmes to operationalise the F-15SG. Personnel also took part in various US Air Force exercises to hone their professional skills and enhance their combat readiness. The detachment was inaugurated on 20 November 2009 at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.

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Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean speaking at the inauguration ceremony.


NOVEMBER 2009

PEACE TRITON DETACHMENT

The RSAF’s Peace Triton naval helicopter detachment, which operated the S-70B Seahawks, held its inauguration ceremony at the United States Navy's Helicopter Maritime Strike Weapons School in San Diego on 16 November 2009. Comprising personnel from both the Air Force and Navy, the detachment was designed to tap the school's and US Paci­fic Fleet’s experience in naval helicopter operations.

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The training included US Navy instructors, RSAF pilots and ground maintenance crew, and tactical coordination officers and sensor operators from the Republic of Singapore Navy.


MARCH 2010

AIR FORCE TRAINING COMMAND

Air Force Training (AFTC) is an amalgamation of the former Air Force School, Flying Training School, and UAV Training School. It serves as a centre of learning excellence for the RSAF’s people development efforts. The training schools and squadrons under AFTC consist of the Flying Training Institute, Air Warfare Training Institute, and Air Engineering Training Institute.

 

Established on 17 July 2009, AFTC was officially inaugurated on 22 March 2010 by Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen. 

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Dr Ng unveiling the AFTC crest.

The Air Force Training Command crest.
The Air Force Training Command crest.

“In AFTC, our airmen will develop strong vocational competencies, to operate well in an integrated environment – alongside other Air Force vocations, as well as with their counterparts in the Army and the Navy. This entails a better understanding of operations, capabilities, and working culture across Services.”

Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, 2010 at the inauguration parade of AFTC


MARCH 2010

A NEW DIMENSION FOR GROUND BASED AIR DEFENCE TRAINING

The Virtual Reality Aircraft Recognition simulator was unveiled at AFTC's inauguration ceremony on 22 March 2010. It provides a three-dimensional environment for training future Ground Based Air Defence airmen to identify and detect aircraft under varying day and night weather conditions.

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The Virtual Reality Aircraft Recognition simulator provides a three-dimensional setting for airmen learning to identify aircraft.


MARCH 2010

INTRODUCTION OF MILITARY DOMAIN EXPERTS SCHEME

The Military Domain Experts Scheme, launched on 12 March 2010, develops talented and capable uniformed personnel with specific military competencies. Military Experts anchor the combat, technical, and specialist expertise required in training and operations

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The Military Domain Experts Scheme seeks to retain talent and enable regulars to enjoy a longer career in the RSAF.


MARCH 2010

EXERCISE GOLDEN MERLION

Exercise Golden Merlion took place from 8 to 15 March 2010 off the coast of Southern California. This exercise involved the RSAF, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), and the United States Navy, with dedicated naval aviation units from both countries. With the RSAF’s S-70B Seahawks at the centre of the action, this exercise saw the integration of the naval helicopters with the RSN's frigate. The S-70B was inaugurated into 123 Squadron in January 2011.

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RSAF pilot with his US counterpart at the end of the day's training.

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Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen on the flight deck, interacting with crew from the RSS Stalwart and the naval helicopter.


APRIL 2010

21ST CENTURY MULTI-ROLE FIGHTER

The RSAF acquired the F-15SG, a customised version of the F-15E, making the RSAF one of the few Air Forces in the world to operate both the F-15 and the F-16. Located at Paya Lebar Air Base and operated by 149 Squadron, the two-seater twin-engine aircraft has the potential for long-term upgrading, and is equipped with sophisticated avionics and weapon systems

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The F-15SG is also stationed at the RSAF's Peace Carvin V detachment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in the United States. 

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It is one of the most advanced variants of the F-15, a strike aircraft with a combat record of over 100 kills to 0 losses. 

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The F-15SG was inaugurated into 149 Squadron at a ceremony officiated by Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean.

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Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (centre), accompanied by Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman (second from right), unveiling a plaque to commemorate the F-15SG's achievement of full operational capability.

“The F-15SG will allow the RSAF to dominate the aerial battles by vesting aircrew with increased situational awareness as well as enhanced air-to-air and self defence capabilities.”

MG Ng Chee Khern, Chief of Air Force, 2008 who officiated at the ceremony to roll out the first F-15SG in St Louis, Missouri


MAY 2010

THE MARK OF AN AIR WARFARE OFFICER

The ­first batch of Air Warfare Officers graduated on 18 May 2010 and was presented with the newly designed vocational badge. Air Warfare Officers specialise in Command, Control and Communications or in Ground Based Air Defence.

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The new design of the Air Warfare Officer badge.


JUNE 2010

EXERCISE GARUDA

The RSAF participated in a trilateral exercise for the first time with the French Air Force (FAF) and Indian Air Force (IAF). Exercise Garuda, which was conducted in France, ran from 14 to 25 June 2010.

 

This was the ­first time that the RSAF’s F-16D+ performed night flying operations in European air space. It also served as a platform for the RSAF to train its large force employment capabilities as well as collaborate with the FAF and IAF.

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Fighter pilots from the RSAF and FAF exchanging pointers after a mission during Exercise Garuda 2010.

“The inclusion of the RSAF has significantly added to the value of this exercise. We are all very operationally sound air forces and it is our goal to learn as much as possible from one another.”

Group Captain Jeepu Mishra, IAF Exercise Director, 2010 on the RSAF’s contribution to the exercise


JUNE 2010

EVERYONE HAS A PART TO PLAY

On 28 August 2010, AFTC received its first batch of Physical Employment Status (PES) C enlistees. After completing nine weeks of Basic Military Training, which included vocational training to prepare them for combat service support vocations, AFTC took over to train these recruits to become technicians, Aviation Material Specialists, and Air Operations Systems Specialists.

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AFTC received its first batch of PES C enlistees in August 2010.


FEBRUARY 2011

CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE RELIEF

On 23 February 2011, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand and crippled Christchurch, its second largest city. As part of Singapore's contribution to the relief efforts, two C-130 planes and one KC-135R tanker were deployed to dispatch to Christchurch an SAF command team and a 55-member urban Search and Rescue team from the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

 

During this 17-day deployment, the two C-130s completed more than 13 sorties and evacuated over 160 civilians. They also airlifted close to 50,000kg of humanitarian aid and supplies including drinking water, decontamination equipment, clothing, and portable generators to the earthquake victims.

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Two C-130s and a KC-135R from the RSAF assisted in airlifting supplies and evacuating civilians out of Christchurch. 

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The RSAF's C-130 was deployed to evacuate earthquake survivors to safety.

“This was not an easy mission. Getting the passengers on board was a challenge itself – there were some passengers who had walking disabilities and it took a few of us to help them onto the KC-135R. We also had to make sure that everyone – including a toddler who was with us – was comfortable on board.”

3WO Ng Kok Wee, Aircrew Specialist, 112 Squadron, 2011 on the difficulties of the deployment in Christchurch 


JULY 2011

AOSX BADGE PRESENTATION

On 25 July 2011, Chief of Air Force MG Ng Chee Meng officiated at the launch of the new Air Operations Systems Expert (AOSX) badge at Chong Pang Camp.

 

The AOSX, previously known as Air Operations Systems Specialist, specialises in Integrated Knowledge-based Command and Control (IKC2) and Command Post operations. They conduct operational-level maintenance on C2 systems and assist in the coordination of air operations.

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The Air Operations Systems Expert badge.


JULY 2011

NEW REGIMENTAL COLOURS

In July 2011, Chief of Air Force MG Ng Chee Meng consecrated five new regimental colours for the RSAF's five operational Commands. Regimental colours play an important role in the SAF to recognise formations and units for their achievements in combat, training, and administrative efficiency

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During the consecration ceremony, the new colours were draped over an altar-like pile of drums before religious leaders were invited to bless the colours.


OCTOBER 2011

APGC SQUADRONS RENAMED

Following the completion of APGC's organisational review, the RSAF officially renamed 19 squadrons in APGC and inaugurated four new Air Base Sustainment Squadrons on 5 October 2011. The inauguration marked a milestone in APGC's development as part of the RSAF's 3rd Generation transformation. 

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Nineteen APGC squadrons were renamed using three-digit numerical designations to better reflect their new and expanded roles.


NOVEMBER 2011

EXERCISE FORGING SABRE

Conducted in Arizona from 28 November to 11 December 2011, Exercise Forging Sabre was one of the SAF’s largest and most complex exercises conducted in the US. The third instalment in the series, which began in 2005, the exercise involved more than 450 personnel from the RSAF and Army, as well as platforms such as the F-15SG and F16C/D fighters, together with Apache and Chinook helicopters.

It gave the SAF an excellent opportunity to validate its integrated strike capabilities in a realistic and challenging environment, and saw the RSAF’s F-15SG dropping laser joint direct attack munitions for the first time against mobile targets in day and night mission scenarios.

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A Chinook supporting a ground force insertion.


DECEMBER 2011

HELICOPTER AIR GUNNERY COURSE

As part of the Helicopter Group’s operational development, the RSAF's Peace Prairie detachment in Texas conducted an inaugural air gunner quali­fication for 10 flight engineers and four Aircrew Specialists using the US Army's M240H machine gun. Air gunnery is an integral part of helicopter operations in hostile settings.

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An Aircrew Specialist firing a GPMG from a port door.


MAY 2012

HERON 1 UAV

The Heron 1 UAV was introduced to enhance the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities of the SAF. With its advanced avionics, detection capabilities, and communication systems, the Heron 1 allowed the retirement of the Searcher UAV, which had been in service since 1994. The Heron 1 operates out of 119 Squadron at Murai Camp and is routinely used in exercises as well as operations.

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The Heron 1 UAV's advanced surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities provide sharper eyes for the RSAF in the sky

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Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (second from left) unveiling 119 Squadron's tail flash on the Heron 1 UAV, signifying its inauguration into the squadron.

"The UAVs have realised the vision of the SAF’s founding pioneers, but only through continued investments to develop this capability."

Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, 2012 who observed that the SAF's vision for UAVs started as early as the 1970s 


MAY 2012

NEW RSAF NO. 4 UNIFORM

On 17 May 2012, a new No. 4 camouflage uniform design was introduced to the RSAF. Apart from distinguishing airmen from the other two Services, the uniform also provided better concealment for servicemen in the Air Bases and air­fields.

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The design features of the new uniform took into consideration the daily operations of RSAF airmen. For instance, pleats on the upper back gave Air Force Engineers added upper limb mobility during spares and ammunition resupply.

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Additional lower leg side pockets are designed to store stationery and ear plugs for easy retrieval.


JULY 2012

INTRODUCTION OF NEW AIRIX VOCATION

To enable the study of newer and more advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms for actionable intelligence, the RSAF launched the new Air Imagery Intelligence Expert (AIRIX) vocation on 11 July 2012. The AIRIX focuses on analysing real-time data collected by the platforms before passing the ­findings to relevant agencies for action.

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The new AIRIX badge was launched alongside the new vocation in July 2012.


JULY 2012

CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER RANK

At the SAF Promotion Ceremony on 17 July 2012, the Chief Warrant Officer rank was introduced to recognise Warrant Officers for their signi­ficant contributions in higher appointments.

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The Chief Warrant Officer insignia that was introduced in July 2012.


OCTOBER 2012

AIR FORCE ENGINEERS SPREAD THEIR WINGS

The Air Logistics Organisation was renamed the Air Engineering and Logistics Organisation on 19 October 2012. A new vocation badge was also launched to better reflect the Air Force Engineer's core expertise in both engineering and logistics. The badge's winged design symbolises the important role that Air Force Engineers play in enabling and sustaining air warfare. 

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Chief of Air Force MG Ng Chee Meng officiated at the ceremony to mark the new name, held at AFTC on 19 October 2012.


NOVEMBER 2012

THE M-346 FIGHTER TRAINER

On 16 November 2012, the RSAF received the Italian-built M-346, which replaced the ageing A-4SU Super Skyhawk for advanced jet training. The M-346 closely replicates the flight performance and avionics of advanced modern-day fighter aircraft, and greatly enhances the RSAF's quality of training of fighter aircrew for their roles in the operational squadrons. In September 2014, it was inaugurated into 150 Squadron at Cazaux Air Base in France.

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The M-346 enables trainee fighter pilots to experience a smoother transition between training and operational platforms.

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The M-346 enhances fighter pilot training with its sophisticated simulations, aerodynamic performance, and modern avionics systems.

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Dr Ng unveiling the inauguration plaque with MG Hoo and COL Benedict Ang, Commander of AFTC, at Cazaux Air Base.

“The M-346 will help enhance fighter pilot training by introducing advanced combat skills at an earlier stage of training and allow fighter pilot trainees to acquire additional skills within the same training period.”

MAJ Dennis Lin, Qualified Flying Instructor, 150 Squadron, 2012 who has flown both the A-4SU and the M-346


2013

RSAF 45TH ANNIVERSARY

The RSAF celebrated its 45th anniversary with a string of events, including the RSAF Family Day and RSAF45@Heartland exhibitions. To kick-start this series of celebrations, a parade was held at Tengah Air Base on 1 Sep 2013, officiated by Chief of Air Force MG Hoo Cher Mou. Members of the public also attended the parade as part of the RSAF’s Community Outreach Programme.

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A parade was held at Tengah Air Base to mark this momentous occasion.

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The parade commenced with the marching in of eight contingents.

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An airman explaining the capabilities of the F-16C fighter aircraft to local blogger Dr Jiajia, who was invited to attend the parade.

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Singapore Youth Flying Club members learning about the Air Force’s latest technology.

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MG Hoo congratulating MSG (NS) Tan Kim Kiat on winning the RSAF Operationally Ready National Serviceman of the Year 2013 Award.

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The RSAF fielded a strong presence at the Singapore Airshow from 11 to 16 February 2014. Called RSAF45@SA, it showcased how far the Air Force had come and its commitment to defence through static displays and interactive exhibits. More than 140,000 people visited RSAF45@SA, which included aerial displays by the RSAF Black Knights.

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A fan snapping a photo with members of the Black Knights during an autograph session at RSAF45@SA.

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A preview of RSAF45@SA on 8 February 2014 during RSAF Family Day included static displays such as the RBS 70 missile system.

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RSAF personnel and their families got up close with static displays of the Mistral and other Ground Based Air Defence systems.

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RSAF personnel and their families taking photos with the F-5 fighter jet.

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The homes and charities adopted by the various RSAF Commands and Air Bases were also invited to attend the RSAF Family Day. At the event, MG Hoo presented cheques to 11 beneficiaries. A total of $221,330 was raised for the SAF Benevolent Fund, President’s Challenge, SAF Care Fund, Singapore Red Cross, Apex Harmony Lodge, Villa Francis Home for the Aged, Geylang East Home for the Aged, Towner Gardens School, Idea Employment Development Centre, Melrose Home, and Asian Welfare Women Association.

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MG Hoo presenting a cheque to Choy Weng Leong from Melrose Home.

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RSAF45@Heartlands was a series of exhibitions held in Toa Payoh, Jurong East, Sengkang, and Yishun from July to August 2014. The exhibitions showcased the RSAF’s heritage, transformation journey, operational capabilities and readiness, and the professionalism and commitment of its people. More than 200,000 visitors took part in interactive games and activities such as the fighter simulators and RSAF photo booth, and viewed static displays of various weapon systems. 

“The award is very meaningful to me as it is a form of recognition of my efforts and contributions as an NSman. I believe that as NSmen, we have an important role in protecting Singapore’s skies.”

MSG (NS) Tan Kim Kiat, Air Force Engineer, 815 Squadron, 2013 who received the RSAF Operationally Ready NSman of the Year Award

 “Even though the Black Knights are not a full-time aerobatics team, they were able to put up a stunning display in such a short time. It showcases the RSAF and reflects the capabilities of the pilots, ground crew, and hardware. My confidence in our air defence is definitely boosted.”

Raymond Lye, Member, Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs and Resource Panel, 2014 who was impressed by his visit to RSAF@SA

“While we cannot know for certain what the future might bring, the building blocks of our success are in place and they will not change: unflinching dedication to mission, utmost professionalism, commitment to one another, and absolute loyalty to Singapore. On this occasion of the 45th anniversary of our nation’s Air Force, we renew our pledge to defend our nation’s skies and to keep our Air Force, in the years to come, above all.”

MG Hoo Cher Mou, Chief of Air Force, 2013 during his address at the parade

“The Black Knights are the pride of our Air Force and Singapore. So it wasn’t a difficult choice to stay on, even if it meant extending my service by six months.”

 3SG Edison Lim, Dedicated Crew Chief, 143 Squadron, 2014 who extended his National Service to serve in the Black Knights logistical team


JANUARY 2013

THE VIRTUAL HANGAR TRAINER

The Virtual Hangar Trainer, Air Engineering Training Institute’s ­first training simulator, was officially commissioned on 9 January 2013. It provides a three-dimensional environment for aircraft maintenance procedures and emergency response procedures to be carried out in realistic conditions.

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The Virtual Hangar Trainer was commissioned by COL Lim Kok Siong (right), Commander of AFTC. 


MARCH 2013

COMBINED SCT GRADUATION PARADE

On 22 March 2013, the 14th Specialist Cadet Graduation Parade saw 39 Specialist Cadet Trainees (SCT) from the RSAF receive their 3SG ranks. This was the ­first time that Specialist Cadet Trainees from the Air Force graduated together with those from the other Services.

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Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah presenting the Golden Bayonet to 3SG William Goh for his outstanding performance in Specialist Cadet School.


NOVEMBER 2013

TYPHOON HAIYAN RELIEF

On 3 November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, killing over 3,000 people and leaving millions stranded. A C-130 transport plane from the RSAF flew to the Philippines on 14 November 2013 to deliver $120,000 worth of relief supplies including tents, groundsheets, medical supplies, and blankets. It also helped evacuate refugees from disaster-stricken Tacloban to Manila.

 

In response to the request of the Philippines' Armed Forces, the RSAF deployed a second C-130 aircraft to support the transportation of relief supplies and personnel between Manila and areas in the Visayas region.

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RSAF aircrew helping a mother and her baby off the C-130.

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The relief supplies delivered to Tacloban included 480 blankets, 200 six-man tents, 192 eight-man tents, 1,600 tarpaulins, and two emergency health kits. 

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The RSAF's C-130 helped evacuate victims from Tacloban to Manila

“The RSAF’s training and exposure has made us stronger, and our ingrained fundamentals ensure continued success. We know we can be called upon any time...and each mission requires us to tackle it differently.

LTC Ravi Chandran, Mission Navigator, 2013 on the experience he gained despite the challenges during the mission


FEBRUARY 2014

COMMAND-LEVEL EXERCISES

The RSAF conducts various local exercises to hone its airmen’s skills and competencies. Such exercises provide realistic training opportunities and promote cross-functional integration within or across the Commands, so that the airmen will be ready to defend Singapore in times of need.

 

Local exercises are held in realistic operational conditions so that the airmen can fight tough, fight together, and fight as one.

 

Command Challenges are also held annually to validate the airmen’s skills and competencies in a friendly competitive setting, and maintain cross-functional operational effectiveness. The aircrew are assessed on their skills in precision weapons delivery, Combat Search and Rescue, air-to-air gunnery, and others. The ground crew are assessed on such skills as maintenance proficiencies, weapon loading accuracy and speed, and sortie generation.

 

The Command Challenges are:

-       Flaming Arrow by Air Defence and Operations Command, involving the  air defence weapon platforms;

-       Top Ace and Big Shot by Air Combat Command, involving the fighter and transport squadrons respectively;

-       Air Warrior by Participation Command, involving the helicopter squadrons;

-       Eagle Challenge by Air Power Generation Command, involving the air base operability, civil engineering, ground logistics, and force protection units;

-       Top Notch by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Command, involving the UAV squadrons.

 

Strict rules govern each Challenge to ensure that missions are carried out safely but in realistic and demanding conditions. The Challenges are staged in increasing levels of complexity over a number of days, allowing competitors to hone their skills progressively.


During the Challenges, cross-Command exchanges and professional interactions provide opportunities for the airmen to better understand the type of capabilities that each Command brings to the battlefield, and reinforce the bonds between them as fellow RSAF personnel.

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The Super Puma is one of the aircraft used in Air Warrior, a Command Challenge involving helicopter squadrons.

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Ground crew loading missiles onto the aircraft.

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Ground Based Air Defence personnel getting the I-HAWK ready for an exercise.

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UAV pilots and Air Force Engineers carrying out the final checks before the exercise.

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A pilot getting the go-ahead from aircrew before take-off.


MARCH 2014

MH370 SEARCH OPERATION

On 9 March 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 vanished from the radars en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The SAF deployed various air and sea assets in this Search and Locate operation, including C-130 transport planes, the Formidable-class frigate RSS Steadfast with a Sikorsky S-70B naval helicopter on board, submarine support and rescue vessel MV Swift Rescue, missile corvette RSS Vigour, and a Fokker 50 maritime patrol aircraft

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ME2 Sanhti scanning the seas for possible objects of interest.

RSAF aircrew staring hard through the windows of the C-130 during the MH370 search operation.

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1SG Eng Guan Peng preparing a marine marker to be dropped into the sea.

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CPT Reuel Yeow and his Search and Locate mission team on 9 March 2014.

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LTC Sivaraman and Other Operations Than War Branch officers during mission planning.

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RSAF personnel from 122 Squadron going through their flight plans before the deployment of the C-130 aircraft.

“I am glad to have the opportunity to contribute and see the different units in the Air Force coming together to help in this effort.”

ME2 Sanhti, Air Operations Systems Expert, 207 Squadron, 2014 who helped in scanning the seas for any objects of interest


AUGUST 2014

SURFACE-TO-AIR PYTHON-5 AND DERBY (SPYDER)

The SPYDER is a quick-reaction, surface-to-air missile system that uses Python-5 and Derby missiles. These missiles are equipped with infrared imaging and radio frequency seekers, which are capable of engaging a wide spectrum of aerial threats. Operated by 165 Squadron, the SPYDER replaced the 30-year-old Rapier system and is based at Chong Pang Camp.

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The SPYDER is a quick-reaction, surface-to-air missile system that uses Python-5 and Derby missiles. These missiles are equipped with infrared imaging and radio frequency seekers, which are capable of engaging a wide spectrum of aerial threats. Operated by 165 Squadron, the SPYDER replaced the 30-year-old Rapier system and is based at Chong Pang Camp.

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Compared to the Rapier, which had been in service for 30 years, the SPYDER possesses a longer interception range and provides extended air defence coverage.


AUGUST 2014

CELEBRATING 45 YEARS OF HELICOPTER OPERATIONS 

On 29 August 2014, the RSAF celebrated 45 years of helicopter operations at Sembawang Air Base, bringing together current and former members of the Helicopter Group. Since the inception of the first operational helicopter squadron in September 1969, the RSAF's helicopters – from the Alouette III and Super Puma to the Apache, Chinook, and Seahawk – have come a long way to play key roles in the full spectrum of the SAF's operations.

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The celebration was attended by current and former airmen of the Helicopter Group.

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Chief of Air Force MG Hoo Cher Mou joined the celebration as guest of honour.

“Generations of helicopter pilots, Aircrew Specialists, and maintenance crew worked hard and made sacrifices, so that we could grow stronger as a community. So for the generation today, what we do not only has an impact today but will also have an important influence on people tomorrow.”

COL Teoh Chun Ping, Commander, Helicopter Group, 2015 during his speech at  the Helicopter Group celebration


DECEMBER 2014

KELANTAN FLOOD RELIEF

In December 2014, Malaysia saw one of its worst floods in 30 years, triggered by torrential northeast monsoon rains. On 30 December 2014, the RSAF transported four Water Purification Units (WPUs) and 34 SAF personnel to assist flood relief efforts in the north-eastern states of Kelantan, Pahang, Johor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Perlis, and Terengganu, where more than 200,000 people were affected. The RSAF's C-130 also transported three other WPUs contributed by the Singapore Civil Defence Force and Mercy Relief to further support the Malaysia Armed Forces’ flood relief efforts. By the end of the operation on 14 January 2015, 136,600 litres of clean drinking water were produced for the flood victims in Malaysia.

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The RSAF's C-130 delivering WPUs to support relief efforts in Malaysia.

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Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing speaking with aircrew from 122 Squadron before their departure for Kelantan.

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COL Francis Ngooi, Commander of the Transport Group (right), welcoming airmen upon their arrival home.

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An MB290 vehicle and a WPU being loaded onto the C-130 aircraft.

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Air Movement Centre personnel and RSAF ground crew working together to load equipment onto the C-130 aircraft.

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The extent of the flood’s devastation, which forced more than 150,000 people to be evacuated from their homes.


JANUARY 2015

AIRASIA QZ8501 SEARCH OPERATION

On 28 December 2014, AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore with 162 passengers and crew on board. Within hours of the plane's disappearance, the RSAF joined the international Search and Locate (SAL) assistance effort by deploying two C-130 aircraft daily to cover an area of about 60 nautical miles by 190 nautical miles in the Java Sea, and two Super Puma helicopters on the Navy ships. The SAL operation concluded on 18 January 2015 after 22 days of deployment and contributed to the air crash investigation.

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RSAF aircrew and pilots conducting pre-flight checks on the Super Puma before taking off from Sembawang Air Base to join the Navy’s RSS Persistence in the mission.

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An Aircrew Specialist searching for signs of the air crash on the Super Puma helicopter.

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Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and senior SAF commanders observing a minute of silence for the victims of the crash.

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Airmen on board the C-130 aircraft scanning the vast open seas, which spanned over 50 times the size of Singapore.

“When my superior informed me that the RSAF was looking for volunteers, I volunteered for the first flight today. As military personnel, our job is not just to see to the daily maintenance of RSAF systems. We also have to participate in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions like this and do what we can to help those in need."

ME2-1 Calvin Tay, Air Force Engineer, 507 Squadron, 2014 on taking part in this mission to scan the search area for debris

 

“Being involved in a real operation was a very fulfilling experience, though we did face several difficulties, such as unfavourable sea conditions, and suffered from seasickness and giddiness. Scanning the seas was not easy, as we did it for many hours in the air, with the glare from the sun reflected off the water. However, we put up with it because we knew that the mission was important to the families of those on board the missing flight.’’

2SG Wilson Wu Zhiwei, Winchman, 125 Squadron, 2015 on taking part in this mission to scan the search area for debris


FEBRUARY 2015

SAF50@VIVO

SAF50@Vivo was the first in a series of celebrations to mark the SAF’s 50th anniversary. Held from 12 to 15 February 2015 at VivoCity, it showcased the SAF’s capabilities from all three Services as well as stories of the men and women who have built up the SAF. The RSAF’s Super Puma helicopter were among the assets featured at the event, which included static displays of the SPYDER, Heron 1 UAV, and various Ground Based Air Defence systems. Within VivoCity, the SAF50 exhibition gave insights into the lives of soldiers, both past and present, and their contributions to the country's security. 

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The Super Puma helicopter static display on board the RSS Endurance. 

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2LT Tay Jun Hao with a young visitor trying out the RBS 70 mounted on top of the V200 Armoured Fighting Vehicle.


MARCH 2015

THAILAND AERIAL FIREFIGHTING

On 18 March 2015, fierce forest fires broke out in various provinces in northern Thailand, adding to smoke haze over the region. Following a request from Thailand, the RSAF mobilised two CH-47 Chinook helicopters to help with aerial firefighting and ferry operations in Chiang Mai. A C-130 was also deployed to transport a 5,000-litre collapsible water bucket, which the two Chinooks used to douse the fires. Despite temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius and a visibility of no more than 3km, RSAF personnel worked closely with their Thai counterparts to complete several recce and aerial firefighting sorties during the two-week mission.

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One of the RSAF’s two CH-47 Chinooks involved in the aerial firefighting operations in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

"After almost two weeks, the SAF and Singapore Civil Defence Force have concluded firefighting operations in northern Thailand. In all, our Chinooks flew 17 sorties over 35 hours and discharged over 200,000 litres of water."

Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, 2015 on how Singapore worked with Thailand for the firefighting operations

 

"Our daily training had prepared us well and allowed us to approach the operation with confidence. Whenever our aircraft approached a water source to collect water, we could see the villagers waving at us. It was such a welcoming and heartwarming sight, which reminded us that our efforts were well received and appreciated."

ME2 Vince Lim Thiam Hock, Helicopter Flight Engineer, 127 Squadron, 2015 on the RSAF team's warm reception from the Thai villagers during the operation


APRIL 2015

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April 2015, claiming more than 7,800 lives. In response to the devastation, the SAF deployed C-130 aircraft to airlift a Singapore relief contingent and their equipment to assist in the affected area. The contingent consisted of the Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Centre advance team, and members of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Singapore Police Force. More than 100 RSAF air traffic controllers, engineers, logisticians, and mission planners worked through the weekend for this mission, while 122 Squadron personnel were sent to the disaster-hit area. In addition, the RSAF enabled the safe evacuation of 95 Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and other nationals out of Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. The SAF team returned to Singapore on 11 May 2015 after completing 11 sorties.

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RSAF personnel loading the SCDF truck onto the C-130 before the mission.

"The RSAF's response was really good because we were aware that we couldn't get out on a domestic or an international flight…However, we knew that the RSAF works with the authorities in Nepal and were comforted by the fact that we could count on their support."

Lim Kun Jie, Operations Executive, 2015 a Singaporean who was left stranded at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu after the earthquake shook Nepal

 

"After being activated on short notice, I flew the first C-130 into Nepal to deploy disaster relief teams from the SAF and the Singapore Civil Defence Force. This deployment was particularly challenging due to the long distance from Singapore and the mountainous terrain, and the C-130 aircrew also had to overcome many uncertainties to achieve mission success. Thankfully, we went on to bring back Singaporeans who were trapped in Nepal."

LTA Edwin Teo, Pilot, 122 Squadron, 2015 who was part of the RSAF deployment to Nepal


MAY 2015

REMEMBERING LEE KUAN YEW

Singapore's founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, passed away on 23 March 2015. Chief of Air Force MG Hoo Cher Mou and other senior RSAF officers served as vigil guards while Mr Lee's casket was lying in state at Parliament House. On 29 March, despite the steady downpour, more than 800 RSAF personnel lined the streets for the procession for the state funeral of Mr Lee. He was accorded the SAF's highest honours with a 21-gun salute, an aerial flypast, and a ceremonial sailpast.  

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Senior RSAF officers took turns to keep vigil while members of the public paid their last respects to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

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COL Nalpon Patrick Selvan (right) leading the Black Knights and RSAF personnel in a minute of silence in honour of Mr Lee.

“Due to heavy rain and low cloud base over the Padang, the Black Knights managed to execute a flypast but were unable to perform the Missing Man Formation. However, I am certain that everyone heard the familiar roar of the RSAF’s F-16C as we flew through the rain. I am honoured that we were able to achieve this for the RSAF as a mark of respect for Mr Lee Kuan Yew.”

COL Nalpon Patrick Selvan, Commander, Fighter Group, 2015 on the RSAF’s participation in the state funeral


AUGUST 2015

NATIONAL DAY PARADE 2015

To mark Singapore's 50th year of independence in 2015, the National Day Parade returned to the Padang, where the first parade was held in 1966. This year’s celebrations involved the largest contingent in the parade and ceremony, which was integrated with the show, aerial display, and mobile column. The aerial display showcased 50 RSAF aircraft, the largest number ever to be featured in a National Day Parade. For the first time, 20 F-16s formed the number 50 while jetting across the sky in a salute to the nation.

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The RSAF’s aerial display across the Padang was integrated with the show and mobile column to put on a special celebration for the nation’s jubilee year.

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The RSAF's Igla, SPYDER, and I-HAWK were featured in the 2km-long convoy that took 14 minutes to drive past the Padang. 

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The RSAF's Guard of Honour contingent consisted of 96 personnel and two contingent commanders from Air Power Generation Command.

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Last updated on 23 Feb 2017
 
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