Republic of Singapore Air Force

From Academic Kids

RSAF aircraft
Type Amount
Combat jets:
F-16 C/D Block 52+ Fighting Falcon 52
F-5 S/T AMRAAM-Upgraded Tiger 49
A-4 SkyhawkUpgraded to SU-standard (Retired 31/03.05) circa. 100
Bell UH-1H Iroquois 30
CH-47 Chinook(SD) Standard 14
AS332 Super Puma/Cougar ~34
AS550 Fennec ( Anti-armour & Recon ) ~20
AH-64D Apache Longbow 20
Sikorsky ASW S-70B 6
Transport & Support Aircraft:
C-130H/B ( Transport & Airfueller ) 10
Fokker F27/Fokker F50 ( Transport and Anti-ship ) 9
Refueling and support aircraft:
KC-135 R Air Refueller/Transport 4
E-2C HawkeyeUpgraded in 2003 4
Air Defense SAM/ADA:
i-Hawk SAM - Upgraded Classified
Mistral SAM Classified
Rapier SAM -(Block-II) Classified
SA-18 Igla MANPAD Classified
RBS-70 Mounted on V-200 AFV Classified
Oerlikon 35mm Classified
ADA Guns (Various) Classified
IAI Searcher Mk2 40
IAI Malat Scout phasing out
ST Blue Horizon Classified
ST Firefly Classified

The Republic of Singapore Air Force was established in 1968 and was at that time called the Singapore Air Defence Command (SADC), it was later named the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) in 1975. The backbone of the RSAF is formed by a number of Block 15OCU and Block 52+ F-16 Fighting Falcons. These are armed with US-supplied AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles and LANTIRN targetting pods, laser guided munitions and conformal fuel tanks for long-range strike. The Block15OCU aircraft are believed to be upgraded to "Falcon One" standard by Singapore Technologies before being donated to the Royal Thai Air Force.

Due to the small area Singapore covers (only 647.5 square km), the RSAF had to seek overseas locations to operate its complete aircraft inventory. With F-16 Fighting Falcons, KC-135 Stratotankers, AH-64D Apaches and CH-47 D Chinook helicopters based in the USA, Marchetti S-211ís and Puma helicopters in Australia and A-4 Super Skyhawks in France, almost one third of the inventory is based outside Singapore.

In 1994 the RSAF started the modernization program for its fleet of approximately 40 operational (R)F-5E and F-5F aircraft. The upgrade was performed by Singapore Technologies Aerospace (STAero) and the upgraded aircraft were designated (R)F-5S and F-5T respectively, operating from Paya Lebar Airbase. These upgraded F-5S/T are capable of firing the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. The Fighter force of F-16's, (T)A-4SU's and (R)F-5S/T's is supported by four KC-135Rís for in-flight refuelling.

Air Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) capability was introduced when in 1987 four E-2C Hawkeyes were delivered to 111sq and coastal surveillance is performed by four Fokker 27's, and five Fokker 50's in the Maritime Patrol Aircraft configuration, armed with long-range anti-shipping Harpoon missiles and torpedoes.

Singapore has ordered eight AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters and after a long period of negotiations over the delivery of the sophisticated Longbow radar, the first one was handed over on May 17, 2002, fitted with the Fire Control Radar. An extra batch of twelve Apaches was ordered in 2001, before the first delivery actually took place, so eventually the RSAF will operate 20 of those sophisticated attack helicopters. All initial 8 Apaches are based in USA. 4 of the Apache Longbow were expected to return home by 2008, but will be returning in 2006 at the Minister of Defense's request. Apart from the six CH-47D's delivered from 1996 on, a new batch of six aircraft was ordered in 1997, with an option of four extra airframes. At least 12 CH-47D have been delivered and in-service at Sembawang Airbase, it is believed that these have been upgraded to the SD standard prior to delivery. 8 of them were deployed in late December to January to support the relief efforts in Indonesia's Tsunami disaster. As of 24 January, 3 of them remain there while other assets have returned.

On November 18th, 2004 it was announced the RSAF will be donating its remaining 7 F-16A/B's (3 Alphas and 4 Bravos) to the Royal Thai Air Force. They will handed over the course of 2005. In return, the RSAF is given access to train on the Thai air base of Udon Thani for a set number of days each year.

Also, after 31 years of operations, the RSAF officially withdrew its fleet of Super Skyhawks from operational service on 31 March 2005. The A4-SUs' achievements included flying directly from Singapore to the Philippines, incorporating the RSAF's first air-to-air refuelling mission in 1986, as well as the excellent aerobatic display of the 'red and white' Super Skyhawks flown by the RSAF Black Knights during Asian Aerospace 1990. A month before its retirement, the SkyHawk squadron won the top honours in a strike exercise against its more modern F-16 and F-5 counterparts.

The selection for replacements of the Super SkyHawks are on schedule, and the original 7 contenders are now shortlisted to either the French Rafale or an enhanced F-15T. The F-16/Blk60, F/A-18E/F, SU-30MKK and the Eurofighter were deemed unsuitable for the RSAF's unique multi-role with heavy strike requirements. Results are expected in June.



Missing image
RSAF's F-16DJ in flight
  • Changi Airbase (West)
  • KC-135R ( Air Refueller )
  • Fokker 27 ( Transport )
  • Fokker 50 ( Maritime Patrol )
  • Changi Airbase (East)
  • F-16D Blk 52+ ( Multi-role )
  • Paya Lebar Airbase
  • C-130H ( Transport )
  • KC-130B/H ( Transport & Air Refuller )
  • F-5S/T ( Intercept & Strike )
  • RF-5S ( Reconnaissance )
  • Sembawang Airbase
  • UH-1 ( Transport )
  • CH-47D ( Heavy Lift & SAR )
  • AS332 Super Puma/Cougar ( Transport & SAR )
  • AS550 Fennec ( Phased Out - In Storage)
  • Tengah Airbase
  • E2C Hawkeye ( AEW & Control)
  • F-16 C/D Blk 52( Multi-Role )
  • F-16 C/D Blk 52( Strike and Intercept )
  • F-16 C/D Blk 52( Strike and Intercept )
  • Murai Camp
  • Malat Searcher ( UAV )
  • Malat Scout ( UAV )
  • Chukar III ( Target Drone )

Overseas detachments (Training)

  • Pearce Airbase (Australia)
  • ~20 S.211 (Pilot selection and basic training)
  • Oakey Airbase (Australia)
  • 4 AS332 Super Puma/Cougar (Training and support for army exercise)
  • Brunei (SAF Jalan Aman Camp Landing Zone)
  • 4 UH-1 (Training and support for army exercises)
  • Cazaux Airbase (France)
  • 18 A-4SU / TA-4SU (Advanced Jet Training)
  • Luke & Cannon Airbase(USA)
  • F-16C/D (Falcon Fighter Training)
  • McConnell Airbase (USA)
  • KC-135R (Flight Training)
  • Grand Prairie Municipal Airport (USA)
  • CH-47D (Flight Training)
  • Silverbell Army Heliport (USA)
  • AH-64D (Flight Training)

Future plans

The introduction of a next generation fighter aircraft is also considered. In February 2003, Singapore joined the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) System Design and Development (SDD) Phase, as a Security Co-operation Participant (SCP). The first deliveries of the F-35 are not expected before 2015, but a replacement for the Skyhawk is needed by 2007. As a start, some 20 F-16D-52+ are to be delivered from 2003 under project Peace Carvin IV.

The RSAF has embarked on the NGF (Next Generation Fighter) programme to replace the aging A-4SU jets. The original competitors have been shortlisted to the final two - Dassault Rafale and the F-15T Strike Eagle. The DSTA (Defense Science & Technology Agency) has been conducting detailed technical assessment, simulations and other tests to assess the final selection. Final selection is expected to be in early 2005. Initial orders will be between 12 to 20 aircraft, and up to 40 aircraft to form 2 new squadrons. These will likely be based at the new Changi East Airbase as the other two fighter airbases are at maximum capacity.

The RSAF also operates Air Defense assets in the form of SAMs and ADA. Some of which are permanently assigned to Army Division units.

In January 2005, it was announced that 6 Sikorsky S-70B (international derivative of SH-60B Seahawk) naval helicopters will be purchased, complete with anti-surface and anti-submarine sensors, sonars and weapons. These will be operated by RSAF pilots, with the Republic of Singapore Navy operating the sensors and weaponry. They will based onboard the new Formidable class frigates. The first 4 to 8 AH-64D Longbow should also be delivered later in the year, after achieving pilot FOC.

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