Jet Thrust Aviation Images: Blog en-us (C) Jet Thrust Aviation Images (Jet Thrust Aviation Images) Sat, 17 Feb 2018 10:57:00 GMT Sat, 17 Feb 2018 10:57:00 GMT FIRST LOOK: Singapore F-15SG in RSAF50 livery 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

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) airshows and events news and commentary Wed, 07 Feb 2018 02:36:21 GMT
Newest RSAF S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter on display at Singapore Airshow 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).

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) airshows and events news and commentary Fri, 02 Feb 2018 11:04:29 GMT
PICTURES: Air-to-air photography with Singapore F-15 and F-16s 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.


(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) airshows and events operations and exercises Wed, 17 Jan 2018 20:15:00 GMT
Thai Gripens with RBS-15 anti-ship missiles and inaugural T-50TH deliveries 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.

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) airshows and events news and commentary Sat, 13 Jan 2018 07:50:00 GMT
Taiwanese Orions declared fully operational as Trackers retire 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.


(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) airshows and events news and commentary operations and exercises Sat, 02 Dec 2017 04:50:00 GMT
RSAF 140 'Osprey' Squadron feature on Combat Aircraft As the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) gears up to commemorate its golden jubilee in 2018, read all about its most established fighter squadron — 140 Sqn 'Ospreys' — in my four-page story The Fighting First in the Dec 2017 issue of Combat Aircraft.

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) general Fri, 03 Nov 2017 08:30:00 GMT
RAAF Hornets in Singapore for resurrected Exercise Churinga Sep 2017 - A RAAF 'classic' Hornet returns to Paya Lebar after a sortie with RSAF F-15SGs in dreary weather, the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) markings indicate a previous life supporting flight tests. Eight of these bugs are in Singapore for a two-week deployment for Ex. Churinga 2017. © Roy Choo One of eight RAAF 'classic' Hornets participating in Ex. Churinga 2017 returns to base after a sortie with RSAF F-15SGs in dreary weather. The ARDU markings on A21-32 indicate a previous life supporting flight tests.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 75 Squadron is participating in Exercise Churinga 2017 a bilateral fighter exercise with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). Eight F/A-18 'classic' Hornets have been deployed at Singapore's Paya Lebar Air Base from 16 September, fresh from the 77 Sqn-led Exercise Thai Boomerang in Korat Air Base, Thailand. One would expect that dissimilar air combat training and large-force employment for interoperability enhancements would be the usual themes of the exercise.

A notable point of the exercise was the resurrection of 'Churinga' as the exercise codename. It was first introduced in 1983 when the RAAF's continuous presence of Mirage IIIOs at Tengah Air Base was switched to peroidic training deployments at Paya Lebar. The label was subsequently applied to the RAAF's other fighter training deployments in that part of the region when bilateral air exercises with Malaysia were also code-named as such. The last of the 'Churinga' series of exercises was held in 2001, and the resurrection of air combat training deployments to Singapore this year is yet another key indicator that defence cooperation under the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership framework is in full swing (read more on the strategic defence partnership in my Australian Defence Magazine Nov 2016 article).

Exercise Churinga 2017 is also significant in that it has been 11 years since the RAAF has deployed a fighter detachment to Singapore; the RAAF last dispatched a similar number of F/A-18A/Bs to Paya Lebar to participate in the multilateral Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) Exercise Bersama Padu 2006 in September that year.

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) news and commentary operations and exercises Sat, 30 Sep 2017 09:29:26 GMT
South Korean F-15K conducts Taraus cruise missile drill With explosive tensions mounting on the Korean peninsular, the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has announced that it has conducted its first drill for the Taurus KEPD 350K air-launched cruice missile from an F-15K on 12 September. A press release by the ROKAF said that the missile flew some 400 kilometers and hit an intended target in coastal waters off Gunsan, North Jeolla Province.

Video footage released by the ROKAF indicated that while the missile is functional, stencils on it, as well as the lack of explosion (on impact or delayed) revealed that it was an experimental or test round. A statement from the ROKAF confirmed that for the safety of ships in the general area, no explosives were used.

The ROKAF is on course to deploy 260 Taurus cruise missiles purchased in two batches, the second of which for 90 was placed in late-2016. The KEPD 350K differs from the baseline model with the additon of a GPS receiver as well as greater resistance to spoofing and jamming. The purchase of the German-manufactured missiles largely stemmed from the US's unwilingness to export the AGM-158 JASSM missile to the country for fear of upsetting the strategic balance in the region.

In a hot war with North Korea, the Taurus KEPD 350K will be used to target infrastructure and support facilities for the nuclear and ballistic missile programs, key military facilities and the North Korean regime's command and control capabilities.

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) news and commentary operations and exercises Wed, 13 Sep 2017 06:38:03 GMT
PICTURES: Indonesia and Singapore air forces' F-16s in joint formations 7 Sep 2017 - Not everyday that 20 F-16s from two countries get to formate together. Indonesia F-16A/C/Ds and Singapore F-16C/Ds fly the '50' formation during the RISING50 celebrations to mark 50 years of bilateral ties. © Roy Choo Indonesia and Singapore Air Forces' F-16s fly jointly in the '50' formation. © Roy Choo

As part of celebrations to mark 50 years of bilateral ties between Indonesia and Singapore dubbed "RISING50" the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Darat TNI–AU) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) flew in separate and joint formations over the Marina Bay area on 7 September. Witnessed by leaders and dignitaries from both countries, the F-16s flew in unilateral "Arrowhead" formations and jointly in a "50" formation. A "bomb-burst" manoeuvre by RSAF F-15SGs concluded the display.

The digit '5' is made up by the TNI-AU F-16s while the RSAF flew in the '0'. © Roy Choo

Like all relationships, the half century of relations had its ups and downs. There were episodes of great cooperation and assistance in the economic, social and defence realms but also periods of friction and tension between both countries. There being much fractional rivalry in Indonesian politics, and the small geographical size and vulnerability of Singapore often lead to each side pursuing different tangents that have adverse effects on relations. The Indonesia-Singapore relationship will only stay strong and continue to prosper in the next 50 years through cool-headed decision-making and the commitment to seek cooperation and mutual benefits by leaders on both sides of the Straits of Singapore.

7 Sep 2017 - RSAF 140 and 143 Squadron-marked F-16C/Ds in the 'Arrowhead' formation. © Roy Choo RSAF F-16s from 140 and 143 Squadrons in the 'Arrowhead' formation, led by the F-16D flown by the Commanding Officer of 140 Squadron and the Chief of Air Force in the back-seat. © Roy Choo

7 Sep 2017 - The TNI-AU 'Arrowhead' is represented by F-16A/C/Ds from Skadron Udara 3 & 16 based out from Iswahyudi and Roesmin Nurjadin Air Bases. © Roy Choo The TNI-AU is represented by F-16A/C/Ds from Skadron Udara 3 and 16 based out from Iswahyudi and Roesmin Nurjadin Air Bases. © Roy Choo

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) airshows and events news and commentary Thu, 07 Sep 2017 13:19:23 GMT
PICTURES: Indonesian Apache breaks cover The first Indonesia Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Darat TNI–AD) AH-64E Apache Guardian has broken cover at what is believed to be the Boeing production line at Mesa, Arizona during flight tests. Painted in a refreshing two-tone green-brown scheme, the Apache is part of a foreign military sales (FMS) contract of eight aircraft that also comprises AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, Longbow fire control radars and a training and crew support package awarded to Boeing by the US government in January 2015. The Indonesian military is expected to publicly unveil the attack helicopter at a parade on 5 October 2017 to mark the 72th anniversary of the armed forces.

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) News and Commentary Fri, 19 May 2017 15:27:07 GMT
Photos: Breitling DC-3 on World Tour Escorted by FCK-1 Ching-Kuo The Breitling Douglas DC-3 HB-IRJ, currently in the midst of its round-the-world tour, was given a rousing welcome into Taiwan airspace on 25 April when it was intercepted and escorted by three Republic of China Air Force FCK-1 Ching-Kuo fighters off the Penghu Islands. One of the FCK-1s, all of which hail from the 443rd Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) based in Tainan, acted as the photo-ship for the mission. We hope the FCK-1s didn't have a hard time trying to keep pace with the slow lumbering DC-3!

Photos by ROCAF

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) News and Commentary Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:26:00 GMT
PICTURES: RAAF F-35A and EA-18G on show at Avalon 2017 Two key assets of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)'s Plan Jericho a 10-year blueprint for the transformation of the RAAF into a highly advanced and networked air force have arrived in Australia and are on show at the 2017 Australian International Airshow held from 28 to 5 March at Avalon, Victoria.

Taking a pause from multi-national pilot training duties at Luke AFB, Arizona where they have been based since the third quarter of 2014, the first two of 72 RAAF Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning IIs — AU-1 and AU-2 — arrived at RAAF Base Amberley on the evening of 27 February after their trans-Pacific ferry flight. Both jets, which are fielding the updated Block 3iP6 software release, arrived at Avalon on 3 March and were officially revealed to the public during the airshow. AU-1 and AU-2 will return to Luke early next week after the event. The first F-35s to be permanently based Down Under will begin arriving from 2018 to initiate the replacement of the F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets, after a period of local integration and operational test and evaluation. They will be operated by three fighter squadrons No. 3 and 77 Squadrons (along with 2OCU) at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales and No. 75 Squadron at RAAF Base Tindal.

20170303raaf8185068_000120170303raaf8185068_0001Australias first F-35A Lightning II aircraft 01 and 02 in transit to the Australian International Airshow in Avalon. *** Local Caption *** The Australian Defence Force is proud to be part of the 2017 Australian International Airshow, with displays showcasing the latest military aviation assets and technology. Photo Credit: RAAF/Corporal Craig Barrett

Similarly, the first two of 12 EA-18G Growlers arrived at Avalon on 28 February following a delivery flight from NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, where RAAF crew are undergoing training with the U.S. Navy's Growler Fleet Replacement Squadron VAQ-129 'Vikings. To be assigned to No.6 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley, all 12 electronic warfare and support aircraft are planned to arrive in Australia by mid-2017, after a six-month operational test and evaluation program.

20170228raaf8201782_019-A20170228raaf8201782_019-AA pair of Royal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growlers en route to the Australian Air Show in Avalon. *** Local Caption *** The Australian Defence Force is proud to be part of the 2017 Australian International Airshow - the premier event in the Southern Hemisphere for showcasing aerospace industry and military aviation. Photo Credit: RAAF/Sergeant Mick Bott


Further Reading

- Australia's first two F-35s take to the skies

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) Airshows and Events News and Commentary Fri, 03 Mar 2017 16:53:16 GMT
Vipers' Nest - Hualien Air Base A flight of five F-16A/Bs undergo final checks at the Last Chance Area while another two armed Vipers launch on a Combat Air Patrol. © Roy Choo We paid a visit to the Republic of China Air Force's Hualien Airbase located on the eastern cost of Taiwan in November last year. View the images from this fabulous F-16 and RF/F-5E/F base at the link here!

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) General Fri, 27 Jan 2017 17:18:00 GMT
Tail Flashes on F-15SGs for Singapore Air Force's Exercise Top Ace 2017 Tail flashes applied as part of this year's Exercise Top Ace have been spotted on various Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fighters this week! Probably the more remarkable ones adorn the following two F-15SGs. Held from 9 to 13 January 2017 at Paya Lebar Air Base, the five-day exercise pits the RSAF's five fighter squadrons against each other in assessments of their air-to-air skills and competencies.

Exercise Top Ace 2017 (Jan 2017) - F-15SG serial 8331 is adorned with the Ex. Top Ace tail flash of 142 'Gryphon' Squadron. The five-day exercise pits the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s five fighter squadrons against each other in assessments of their air-to-air skills and competencies.© Roy Choo F-15SG serial 8331 is adorned with this stunning tail flash of 142 'Gryphon' Squadron. This is the squadron's first participation in the annual Top Ace / Hot shot exercise series since its re-formation in March 2016.   © Roy Choo 

Exercise Top Ace 2017 (Jan 2017) - On finals to Paya Lebar Air Base amongst nondescript bulidings, F-15SG serial 8328 bears the Ex. Top Ace tail flash of 149 'Shikra' Squadron. © Roy Choo On finals to Paya Lebar Air Base amongst nondescript buildings, F-15SG serial 8328 bears the Ex. Top Ace tail flash of 149 'Shikra' Squadron. © Roy Choo

Further Reading

- Exercise Hotshot 2014: Tail flashes galore

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) News and Commentary Operations and Exercises Sun, 15 Jan 2017 07:37:00 GMT
Thai air force Gripen crashes at Hat Yai during Children's Day airshow RTAF Gripen 70108 taxies out for the final time Hat Yai airport on 14 January with the late Group Captain Dilakrit Pattavi. Photo courtesy of Kitti Eaidkaew

What had been a horrifying sight for hundreds of spectators including scores of children, a Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) JAS-39C Gripen crashed in a ball of flames together with its pilot Group Captain Dilakrit Pattavi at Hat Yai airport in Thailand's far south. The Gripen had been performing at the local Children's Day airshow when it rolled over and nosedived into the ground.

This is the first loss of a Thai Gripen since the RTAF took delivery of its first jet in February 2011. The aircraft, serial 70108, joined the RTAF fleet on 5 April 2013. Pior to the accident, twelve of these had been in service with 701 Squadron, Wing 7, based at Surat Thani Air Force Base.

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) News and Commentary Sat, 14 Jan 2017 15:18:00 GMT
Singapore's Heli-Lift Facelift AS332M Super Puma 220 is being readied for a flight to the Shoalwater Bay training area. Also in view are other RSAF aviation assets parked on the tarmac; Rockhampton Airport is beginning to resembleAS332M Super Puma 220 is being readied for a flight to the Shoalwater Bay training area. Also in view are other RSAF aviation assets parked on the tarmac; Rockhampton Airport is beginning to resemble a busy military airbase! © Roy Choo The RSAF operates a Super Puma training detachment at the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in Queensland, Australia. This is being expanded to include a Chinook detachment by the end of 2017 or early 2018. © Roy Choo

Singapore is moving ahead with its medium and heavy lift helicopter renewal programs with the award of contracts to Airbus Helicopters and Boeing for the H225M and CH-47F respectively.  The number of airframes and value of the contracts announced on November 7 were not publicised.

The favourite in the medium-lift competition, the H225M was running against the Leonardo-Finmeccanica AW101 but a decision on the H225M deal was delayed after the crash of a civilian Super Puma off the coast of Norway. The H225M will replace about two dozen Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)’s AS332M/M1 Super Pumas which were introduced from 1983 and are currently  in service with 125 and 126 Squadrons at Sembawang Air Base, as well as the Oakey Army Aviation Centre detachment in Queensland, Australia.

Singapore operates 16 CH-47D/SD Chinooks, the first of which were delivered in 1996. Six of the CH-47Ds are based with the Peace Prairie detachment in Texas, training alongside the Texas Army National Guard's 149th Aviation Regiment. Delivered between 1998 to 2003, the remaining 10 improved CH-47SDs are in service with 127 Squadron at Sembawang. The improved SD features upgraded avionics and engines, though both RSAF versions are equipped with larger fuselage-flank fuel tanks. It is expected that the CH-47Fs to be acquired will replace the older Texas-based CH-47Ds. However, with the establishment of a Chinook training flight in Oakey by the end of 2017, the future of the Peace Prairie detachment and the basing plans for the Fs are uncertain.

Serial 88192 is the sole upgraded CH-47SD Chinook out of four deployed for the exercise. Modifications seen here include a SATCOM ball, a self-protection suite and chaff/flare dispensers. © Roy Choo Having undergone the MLU program, CH-47SD 88192 was one of four deployed at Warrior’s Camp in Rockhampton, Queensland in Australia to support the Singapore Armed Forces’ unilateral exercise at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area from 15 Sep to 7 Nov. © Roy Choo

Running concurrently with the CH-47F acquisition, the locally-based CH-47SDs are also undergoing a mid-life upgrade program. A joint project among the RSAF, the Defence Science and Technology Agency as well as local company Singapore Technologies Aerospace, modifications include an avionics upgrade, a SATCOM dome and an integrated self-protection suite with chaff and flare dispensers. Developmental trials were recently completed by the RSAF’s Flight Test Centre and the upgrade is being progressively rolled out across the fleet.

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) News and Commentary Thu, 01 Dec 2016 09:13:00 GMT
Exercise Torrent 16 — Roadway to Runway Singapore is keenly aware that only with the uninterrupted ability to launch and recover its air assets could it employ effective air power, the linchpin of its military deterrence. Lessons from the Vietnam and Six-Day Wars had raised concerns of the vulnerability of its air force to artillery and air strikes in the 1970s.

As such, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has emphasised protection and built-in redundancy in the development of air base infrastructure. It has gone through great lengths to conceal and harden its critical facilities and established a rapid airfield repair capability to ensure enemy action will not cripple an air base easily. Several stretches of public roads were designated for use as airstrips and one is periodically practiced on during alternate runway exercises.

Road to Airstrip

After an eight-year hiatus, the latest RSAF road to runway exercise series codenamed "Torrent" was held from  10 – 13 November 2016 and involved 12 RSAF fighters. © Roy Choo

One of two remaining roads that could be transformed to allow airfield operations , the six-lane Lim Chu Kang Road is a thoroughfare used by heavy vehicles serving farms and industrial facilities in the north-western corner of Singapore. Connected to Tengah Airbase by two taxiways on the northern and southern ends, the 2,500m by 24m road lack a run-off unlike its overseas equivalents and fighters utilising the strip still rely on Tengah’s re-arming and refuelling facilities. The road has hosted seven of such alternate runway exercises — codenamed Torrent — since its first in 1986.

After an eight-year hiatus, the latest exercise was held from 10 – 13 November 2016 and involved 1,000 personnel  ranging from pilots, engineering and maintenance crew, air traffic controllers and force protection troopers, who provided parameter security.

As with past exercises, a 48-hour period was allowed for the road to airstrip transformation process. This mammoth task fell on the RSAF’s 505 Air Base Civil Engineering Squadron, which is also charged with the day-to-day upkeeping of the road to allow a quick conversion.  Over the two days, road fixtures were removed with assistance from associated national agencies.  In their place, airfield equipment such as solar portable airfield lights, distance-to-go markers and Mobile Arrestor Gear (MAG) systems on each end of the strip were set up. A mobile air traffic control (ATC) tower was also deployed to allow coordination and de-confliction of aircraft movements with Tengah’s ATC. 

The 505 Air Base Civil Engineering Squadron and associated national agencies were tasked with the road to airstrip transformation within 48 hours. © Roy Choo

With 12 aircraft launching in such close proximity, air traffic controllers on the mobile air traffic control tower deployed along Lim Chu Kang Road played an important role in the de-confliction of aircraft movements. © Roy Choo

Airpower Generation

Exercise Torrent 2016 (13 Nov 2016) - One of twenty F-16D+ operated by 145 Squadron launches from Lim Chu Kang Road. Flanked by trees and poultry farms on both sides, operating from the 2,500m by 24m airstrip requires precision with little room for error. © Roy Choo Equipped with conformal fuel tanks and more advanced avionics systems compared to the F-16C/Ds, one of twenty F-16D+ operated by 145 Squadron launches from Lim Chu Kang Road. © Roy Choo

There were a number of notable firsts for this year’s exercise. Apart from the demonstration of aircraft operations on the strip, the exercise highlighted the ability to conduct simultaneous aircraft launch and recovery on Tengah’s main runway, both its eastern and western taxiways as well as on Lim Chu Kang Road. “The use of these four platforms demonstrated that our fighters can launch and turn around as fast as possible. When we multiply this concept to the three fighter-capable air bases, one can imagine how rapidly we can re-generate and bring airpower to bear against threats,” said Brigadier-General Gan Siow Huang, Exercise Director and Commander, Air Power Generation Command. All twelve aircraft, including four F-15SG which inaugurated the type’s participation, launched within a mere three minutes on each of the two demonstrations.

Exercise Torrent 2016 (12 Nov 2016) - Four F-15SGs from 149 Squadron participated in Exercise Torrent 16, the type seeing its inaugural participation in the road to runway exercise series. © Roy Choo Though F-15SG 8320 is in the markings of newly established 142 Squadron, 149 Squadron led the F-15SG operations in Exercise Torrent 16. © Roy Choo

The participating aircrews were first-timers in the exercise, though lessons were shared by the pilots of previous exercises. Major Wang Kee Yong ‘Senbei’, an F-15SG Fighter Weapons Instructor with 149 Squadron discussed the preparations made by the F-15 crew, “As a work-up to this exercise, we focused on short-field training techniques, knowing that the runway would be narrow and short. But when we took off for the first time, we were still caught by surprise on how narrow it is because of the proximity of the trees around it.” Another first for the exercise was the simulation of an aircraft brake failure scenario, with an F-16C engaging the hookwire of a MAG laid across Lim Chu Kang Road.

While the RSAF has expressed interest in acquiring the F-35, with attention focussed on the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant, a decision on any purchase will not be made till sometime in the 2030s. As its relatively new F-15s and F-16s will remain the mainstay of its fighter force, alternate runway contingency plans and exercises like Torrent will remain relevant at least for the next decade.

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) News and Commentary Operations and Exercises Tue, 15 Nov 2016 07:18:00 GMT
RAF Typhoons in Japan for Guardian North 16 JASDF F-2s and RAF Typhoons participate in Exercise Guardian North at Misawa Air Base. Photo courtsey of mashion_330  via Twitter

Four Typhoons FGR.4s flown by crew from the Royal Air Force (RAF)'s No II (AC) Squadron are participating in a two-week Exercise Guardian North in Japan. Operating out of Misawa Air Base on the northern end of Japan’s main island Honshu, the Typhoons are flying with and against the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF)'s F-2s from Misawa's 3 Hikotai and F-15Js from Chitose Air Base, Hokkiado.

The Typhoons are on an East Asia deployment codenamed Eastern Venture and were originally part of an eight-aircraft deployment to Malaysia for Exercise Bersama Lima 16, which ran from 4 to 21 October 2016. Following the exercise with the JASDF, the Typhoons will go on to Osan Air Base in South Korea to participate in Exercise Invincible Shield with the Republic of Korean Air Force' (RoKAF) from 4 to 11 November. The Typhoons will fly alongside RoKAF's F-15Ks and KF-16C/Ds, as well as U.S. Air Force fighters based in the country.

Speaking to media, RAF Wing Cmdr. Roger Elliott, who leads the Royal Air Force unit deployment to Japan said, "This is the most ambitious deployment that the Typhoon Force has ever done. I think it's probably the most ambitious deployment that the Air Force has done to the Far East,"

Both Guardian North and Invincible Shield also mark the first time Japan and South Korea have hosted a bilateral exercise with foreign military, apart from the U.S. 

© Royal Air Force

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) Operations and Exercises Tue, 01 Nov 2016 09:48:00 GMT
PICTURES: Red Arrows in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore flypasts © RAF Red Arrows

The Royal Air Force (RAF)'s Red Arrows aerobatic team made flypasts over the city centres of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore today on 18 October as part of its Asia-Pacific & Middle East Tour 2016. The flypasts were originally scheduled for last week but were postponed twice due to adverse weather in the region. In Kuala Lumpur, the Red Arrows was to have conducted a formation flypast with a trio of RAF Typhoons from 1(Fighter) Squadron currently deployed at Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Butterworth for Exercise Bersama Lima 2016, but the Typhoons did so themselves on 14 October.

A Hawk T1 of the Red Arrows overfly Singapore's Marina Bay. © RAF Red Arrows

The Red Arrows flying over the Petronas Towers in downtown Kuala Lumpur. © RAF Red Arrows

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) Airshows and Events News and Commentary Tue, 18 Oct 2016 13:34:00 GMT
Air action at Wallaby 2016 Stay frosty as we bring you a slice of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) air action from Ex. Wallaby 2016 on this site and at instagram!

Update 14 October 2016: A selection of my Wallaby 2016 images can be viewed here.

(Jet Thrust Aviation Images) Operations and Exercises Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:32:26 GMT