Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong officiated at the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s 50th Anniversary parade at Tengah Air Base earlier this morning. The parade was held to commemorate the RSAF's formation on 1 September 1968 and the five decades of commitment and dedication by the RSAF to safeguard Singapore's skies.
Themed "Honouring the Past, Celebrating the Present and Inspiring the Future", the RSAF50 Parade featured marching contingents from all of the RSAF's Commands, a mobile column drive-past led by RSAF pioneers, 20 aircraft and weapon systems on static display, and a flypast of 20 RSAF aircraft. The RSAF's newly acquired Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (A330-MRTT) aircraft also made its first appearance at the parade. The parade also marked the end of the year-long celebrations for the RSAF's golden jubilee, which included the RSAF50@Singapore Airshow 18, RSAF50@Heartlands and RSAF50@Marina Barrage.
Speaking at the parade, PM Lee shared how the RSAF has grown over the years and transformed together with Singapore. He said, "The RSAF has come a long way from your modest beginnings... What our Pioneers lacked in resources and manpower, they more than made up for with their passion and determination... Today, the RSAF is a professional, well-trained and well-equipped air force... I would like to thank all the pioneer servicemen and servicewomen who are here for your dedication and sacrifice... (and) on behalf of all Singaporeans, I would like to say a personal thank you to all the RSAF servicemen and servicewomen, past and present, for your commitment and contributions to keeping Singapore's skies and our region safe. I would also like to thank your families who have supported you, and cheered for you as you fulfilled your duty to Singapore – Our Home Above All." Following the parade, PM Lee toured the A330-MRTT aircraft and was briefed on its capabilities. PM Lee also unveiled the RSAF50 Commemorative Mural, which was formed by 50,000 photographs contributed by members of the public since the start of the RSAF50 celebrations in February this year, signifying their support for the RSAF.
Looking beyond RSAF50, Chief of Air Force Major-General Mervyn Tan said, "We will continue our journey of transformation to create the Next Generation RSAF. We will make changes that will allow us to overcome evolving threats and future challenges to better safeguard Singapore's skies... But driving these changes and transformation are the timeless, fundamental building blocks of the Air Force – our most critical asset, our people. These are the competent and professional airmen and women, who when put together will form a formidable team to achieve mission success for the RSAF. And if our people are the building blocks of the Air Force, then the content of their character form the bedrock of our success."
The parade was attended by about 1,400 invited guests, including Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, Senior Ministers of State for Defence Mr Heng Chee How, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong, ASEAN Air Force Chiefs, Defence Attachés, senior Singapore Armed Forces officers, and servicemen and women from the RSAF.