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FIRST LOOK: Singapore F-15SG in RSAF50 livery

February 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

One of two F-15SGs painted in the RSAF50 scheme seen here on a flight one week before the Singapore Airshow . © Roy Choo

As part of celebrations to commemorate the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s golden jubilee in 2018, the President of Singapore Halimah Yacob unveiled the RSAF50 livery painted on a static display F-15SG Eagle at the Singapore Airshow 2018 this morning. The F-15SG was one of two adorned with the scheme.

The fuselage, wings and tails of the F-15SG spot a blue tone derived from that of the RSAF State Colour. The top-side and outer-tails of the F-15SGs feature the RSAF50 logo — the numerical '50' over the Singapore city skyline. Also detailed on the inner-tails are the three RSAF roundels that have been used at one time or other over the five decades. The tail numbers of both F-15SGs are not yet known — a walk-around of the aircraft on static display did not yield any trace of identification.

One of the F-15SGs will participate in daily integrated aerial displays with two line F-16Cs from 7 February. Both aircraft will also be making appearnces in various RSAF events and celebrations throughout the year. 

Update 7 February

Singapore President Halimah Yacob unveiled the scheme on one of the aircraft on static display today during the Singapore Airshow. © Roy Choo

Update 10 February

We can be certain of the tail numbers of both F-15SGs. The static display aircraft has been identified as 8338 (05-0032) while the aerial display aircraft is 8332 (05-0027).

17 Feb 2018 - One of two Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s RSAF50-liveried F-15SG soars over suburban Singapore at the conclusion of yet another successful display at the Singapore Airshow 2018. © Roy Choo F-15SG 8332 soars over suburban Singapore at the conclusion of yet another successful Singapore Airshow aerial display on 8 February. © Roy Choo

Further Reading

- Air-to-air photography with Singapore F-15 and F-16s

Newest RSAF S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter on display at Singapore Airshow

February 02, 2018  •  1 Comment

RSAF's S-70B Seahawk 253, on static display at Singapore Airshow 2018, is one of a pair that was ordered in February 2013 and delivered last month. It is seen here loaded with an A244/S Whitehead torpedo.© Roy Choo

Visitors to Singapore Airshow 2018 next week will have the opportunity to get up close to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s newest aircaft, a Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter, among 20 other aircraft and weapon systems on static display at the event.

The Seahawk (tail number 253) is one of a pair ordered in early 2013, both of which were understood to have been delivered barely a month ago in January 2018. It is not yet known what the tail number of the other Seahawk would be but traditional RSAF numbering convention would suggest it could be 252. As a way of illustrating how new the airframe is, its Federal Aviation Administration registration number N1025J — applied on its aft fuselage for flight tests purposes by Sikorsky — could be made out through a layer of paint applied over it following the acceptance of aircraft by the RSAF.

© Roy Choo

The new pair of Seahawk naval helicopters join six others (tail numbers 260-263, 265-266) that are owned by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) but operated by the RSAF's 123 Squadron, aptly named the 'Seahawks'. Three of these had been delivered to the Peace Triton training detachment at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego by March 2010 for a one-year period to allow sufficient numbers of pilots and ground crews to be trained in order to seed 123 Squadron. Initial Operational Capability of the S-70B Seahawks with 123 Squadron was declared in January 2011. The squadron is primarily tasked with anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare missions, the latter by means of cooperative targeting for RSN ships.

The two new Seahawks are externally identical to the original six, with the L-3 Helicopter Long Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) still utilised as the dipping sonar system. However, it is understood that the pair feature certain improved avionics and it would be likely that the older Seahawks be brought up to a common standard in the future to avoid maintenance complications resulting from a 'fleet within a fleet' situation.

The larger Seahawk fleet would go some way in feeding the increased demand for naval heli-ops with the induction of eight RSN helideck-equipped Littoral Mission Vessels (LMVs) alongside six Formidable-class Stealth Frigates launched and commissioned last decade. The addition of the two new Seahawks would also leverage economies of scale in terms of fleet servicing for an aircraft type that would likely be maintenance-demanding (like all aircraft operating in the maritime environment).

PICTURES: Air-to-air photography with Singapore F-15 and F-16s

January 17, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) participants of the Singapore Airshow 2018 F-15 and F-16 aerial display segment roll in echelon as seen from a KC-135R boom operator station. © Roy Choo The two main fighter types of the RSAF roll in echelon as seen from a KC-135R boom operator station. © Roy Choo

In the lead-up to the the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s 50th anniversary celebrations this year and RSAF50@Singapore Airshow 2018, an air-to-air photo shoot was organised on the morning of 17 January from an RSAF KC-135R Stratotanker photoship with an F-15SG and two F-16Cs as the photography subjects.

The approximately two-hour session was flown over the South China Sea near the island of Pedra Branca, with the mixed F-15 and F-16 formation flying both alongside and behind the tanker where fabulous shots could be captured from the boom operator station. Apart from the smoke generation system and its associated centreline diesel tank on the pair of F-16s, the three stars of the morning were line aircraft drawn from the squadrons. The F-15SG bore markings of 149 'Shikra' Squadron while the F-16Cs had the markings of 140 'Osprey' and 143 'Phoenix' Squadrons. As the photoshoot was intended to highlight the trio's performance at the the airshow in February, the fighters did aerobatic splits as well as dispensed flares.

In the markings of RSAF 140 Squadron 'Ospreys', F-16C serial 620 flies alongside the photoship KC-135R. While the RSAF will commemorate its Golden Jubilee in 2018, its F-16C/D fleet will also mark its 20th year of operations in Singapore. © Roy Choo

The actual F-15 which will participate in the integrated aerial display with the F-16s during much of the Singapore Airshow will be substituted with one that will be in a unique RSAF50 scheme. More details at a later date.

For fans of the RSAF, a line-up of events have been organised throughout the year, from events in the Singapore heartlands to an aerial display at the Marina Barrage from 11-12 August. The celebrations will culminate in an RSAF50 parade at Tengah Airbase on 1 September — the anniversary of the RSAF. The A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), the first of six which will be delivered later this year, will make its inaugural public appearance at that event. Visit the RSAF50 page for more details of the events.

Cleanly configured RSAF F-15SG tail no. 8321 goes wingtip-to-wingtip with the Stratotanker photo-ship before peeling off to rejoin it’s formation. © Roy Choo


Jet Thrust Aviation Images would like to thank MINDEF Communications Organisation and the RSAF Air Force Information Centre for the opportunity.


Thai Gripens with RBS-15 anti-ship missiles and inaugural T-50TH deliveries

January 12, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

RTAF Wing 7

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) put on display one of its 701 Fighter Squadron's JAS-39C Gripens with a pair of RBS-15F air-launched anti-ship missiles at the Surat Thani Children's Day airshow held on 13 January. While it is widely known that an unspecified number of the missiles were included in the Gripen Air Defence Package signed between the RTAF and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration in 2008, it is believed that this is the first time they have been seen publicly.

RTAF Wing 7

The RBS-15Fs — which could deliver a 200 kg warhead from a range of 70 km via a a sea-skimming approach — are of the radar-guided Mk.1 version and lack the land-attack capabilities of the longer-ranged, dual GPS and radar guided Mk.3 variant which comes only in the ship-launched version. The RBS-15Fs provide the Thai Gripens with the teeth for their anti-shipping missions. Strategically based at Surat Thani in southern Thailand, both the resource-rich Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea are within easy reach of the Gripens.

Kaoshiung International Airport

In other RTAF-related news, the delivery of the first pair of T-50TH Golden Eagle fighter trainers to Thailand has been post-phoned. According to a statement from the RTAF, the T-50THs flew into severe weather while on their third leg of their journey home between Clark Airbase in the Philippines to Kuantan Airbase in Malaysia. Post-flight inspections revealed certain irregularities which had to be rectified. While it was not announced when they will eventually arrive home, sources have indicated that the delivery could be delayed by up to two weeks. The T-50THs had been expected to arrive at Takhli Air Base in central Thailand on January 11 after a 6,658 km ferry flight that had also taken them to Kaoshiung, Taiwan from the Korea Aerospace Industries factory in Sacheon.

Taiwanese Orions declared fully operational as Trackers retire

December 01, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This is an abridged version of the article. The full text can be viewed in the February 2018 issue of AirForces Monthly pp 30-31.


The Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) has withdrawn its final operational S-2T Tracker and declared its fleet of 12 P-3C Orions fully operational in a ceremony witnessed by President Tsai Ing-wen on 1 December 2017 at Pingtung North AFB. The S-2T, serial 2220, returned from its last sortie and was greeted by a water cannon salute, bringing an end to the type's iconic and rich career with the Taiwanese military.

The mainstay of Taiwanese maritime surveillance and anti-submarine work for half a century, The ROCAF inducted 10 S-2As in 1967 as its first ASW-capable aircraft. Thirty-four S-2Es were put on strength in the late 1970s with the 33rd and 34th Squadrons, followed by seven S-2Gs in the mid-1980s. Under Project 'Tien Shan', 27 S-2E/Gs were upgraded to S-2T standard in the late 1980s and early 1990s, incorporating new engines and various mission equipment improvements to the sonobuoy receivers and processors, magnetic anomaly detector, radar and FLIR. The upgraded Trackers proved their worth in the 1990s detecting Chinese and American submarines snooping on major Taiwanese military exercises, the latter was a USN Los Angeles-class submarine on a SIGINT-collection mission while ROCAF Mirage 2000s were live-firing MICA missiles in an exercise in 1998. Taiwan was the only user of the MICA outside France at that time and this presented a unique opportunity for the US to gather telemetry data of the missiles.


In recent years, the S-2T’s poor mission availability and its inability to track the latest Chinese submarines saw the Defence Ministry procure 12 P-3C Orions in a US$1.96 billion contract in 2007. The P-3s were pulled from storage at AMARG and underwent a re-wing and structural service life extension program, as well as an avionics upgrade to bring them to late USN P-3C Orion standards.

The first P-3C was delivered in September 2013 to 33rd Squadron, with the final aircraft arriving at Pingtung in July 2017. Apart from participating in regular patrols and tri-service exercises, the P-3Cs have been involved in notable operations, including the monitoring of the Chinese carrier Liaoning and its escorts in July 2017 as the flotilla sailed around Taiwan, and the search of a crashed ROCAF Mirage 2000-5EI in November 2017.


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