The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is participating in the trilateral Exercise Cope Tiger (XCT) 2023, alongside the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) and the United States Air Force (USAF) at Korat Air Base in Thailand. Held from 14 to 30 March 2023, this year's edition marks the 27th iteration of the large force employment exercise which involves about 70 assets and more than 2000 personnel across the three nations.
The RSAF has deployed eight F-15SG, four F-16C/D and eight F-16D+ fighter aircraft, one G550 Airborne Early Warning aircraft, one A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport, one CH-47SD and one CH-47F helicopters, two Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, nine Ground-Based Air Defence systems and about 700 personnel to participate in the exercise. This is the CH-47F's inaugural participation in the exercise. Exercise participants will engage in large-scale air defence and strike missions in a realistic and challenging environment, allowing them to hone and sharpen their operational competencies.
Commenting on the significance of this exercise, RSAF Exercise Director, Colonel Maxmillion Goh said, "XCT provides an excellent opportunity for us to train alongside our counterparts from Thailand and the United States. The successful conduct of this exercise over the years has enhanced our mutual cooperation and understanding, and bears testament to the long-standing and close defence relationships we have with our Thailand and United States air force counterparts. The regular conduct of this large-scale trilateral air combat exercise offers excellent training opportunities for our airmen and women. It hones our ability to plan and execute realistic large-scale air combat operations for both air defence and strike missions, so that we remain operationally ready and capable of safeguarding Singapore's skies 24/7."
In addition to these training activities, personnel and assets from the three air forces put up an XCT Open Day static display for members of the local community. Exercise participants will also participate in joint socio-civic programmes to engage the local schools and communities in the vicinity of Korat Air Base and Chandy Range.
Singapore's Chief of Air Force, Major-General Kelvin Khong, Commander-in-Chief of the RTAF Air Chief Marshal Alongkorn Vannarot and Mobilisation Assistant to the Commander of the Pacific Air Forces Major-General Erich Novak will officiate at the closing ceremony on 31 March.
Conducted since 1994, XCT seeks to enhance the professionalism and cooperation among participating forces, and promote closer rapport and mutual understanding among their personnel.