新加坡空军部队 -  Angkatan Udara Republik Singapura - Republic of Singapore Air Force


       Credit:  Roundels of the world
Roundel                Low visibility roundel from 1986

                                        Last update 26/07/2014

The Fighter Group


 The Group oversighs all the fighter Squadrons, this means at present: the 140th Squadron (with F-16C/F-16D),  the 143rd Squadron 
(with F-16C/F-16D), the 144th Squadron (with  Northrop F-5S/F-5T), the 145th  Squadron (with F-16D+), the 149th Squadron (with F-15SG).


Squadrons
The Tigers originally bought allowed to establish two new units plus the conversion of one of the Hawker Hunter equipped Squadrons.

144 Squadron - Black Kites   - motto: Dare to Excel

The first Nortrthrop F-5E arrived
at Tengah AB on 19-02-79; 144 Squadron was formed as first Tiger equipped
unit on the same day. It replaced a detachment of 6 Australian AF Mirage IIIO based a Butterworth AB in the
air defence role, moving on 01-06-85 to Paya Lebar AB, where all other Tiger Squadrons were already based.
Its main role was interception, doubling as Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) operating single- plus all
two-seaters.

The Squadron participated 1983 to Red Flag 83-2 exercise at Nellis AFB (USA), manning 1 loaned USAF
Northrop F-5E and 3 new Northrop F-5F ordered in 1982. The same year/1983 saw the transfer to Williamstown AB
(Australia).


           
            Northrop F-5E serial 823 seen on 23-09-83 without in-flight refuelling probe.

                                                                             Photo: Archive The Norhrop F-5 Enthusiast



Northrop F-5F serial 852 at Williamtown AB on 27-09-83.
                                              Photo: Archive The Norhrop F-5 Enthusiast


The Squadron won the 1995 and 2005 the local "Best Fighter Squadron" award.

144 Squadron was the first to operate the ugraded STAe/Northrop F-5S and F-5T from 1996, maintaining its role as a fighter unit and as an OCU. It reached Initial Operating Capability status on the "new" fighter at the end of 1997, full capability officially on 04 April 1999.

       
        
STAe/Northrop F-5S 814 photographed in August 1999.
                                                    Photo: Archive The Norhrop F-5 Enthusiast
       
Best Topshot Squadron award was won by the unit in 2003, 2004 and 2010, Best Fighter Squadron in 2005, 2009, 2015
Best Hotshot Squadron in 2011.
Its main role at present is air-defence, secondary is ground attack.


149 Squadron - Blackite - motto: Steadfast

                   
 Based at Tengah AB, this was the second F-5 unit to be formed on 01-06-85, when
 enough aircrafts were  available, equipped with single-seaters together with at least
 one double-seater.  Primary role was air defence; secondary role (attack) was
 performed with AGM-65A Maverick  missile, unguided bombs and rockets. Transfer
 to Paya Lebar AB took  place in 1994. 
 It won the Best Fighter Squadron award several times; 1986, 1988 with Northrop F-5E.

        

          
Photo: P. Steinemann
        
STAe/Northrop F-5S 834 with AIM-9P Sidewinder

Conversion to the more advanced STAe/Northrop F-5S and F-5T followed in 1998. Full Operational Capability was reached officially on 04 April 1999.
It won the Best Fighter Squadron award several times: 2002, 2004, 2008, was detached to Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and participated to several exercises abroad and at home.

                   Photo: Australian DoD
                  STAe/Northrop F-5T 850 at Tindal AB (Australia) on 19-06-08.

The unit was selected to re-equip in 2010 to the incredibly more powerful Boeing F-15SG (quite a difference to the F-5 lightfighter!) Its first aircrafts arrived in Singapore in April 2010, the unit being officially inaugurated on 05-04-10.

141 Squadron - Shikra   - motto: Detect to Deter

This was the last Hawker Hunter FR. Mk74B and FGA/Mk74 equipped unit , based at Tengah AB. It disbanded in March 1992 upon withdrawal of these aircrafts and reformed at the end of 1994 at Paya Lebar AB with eight Northrop F-5E converted as reconnaissance-fighters (RF-5E) by STAero (programm initiated in 1991 with the help of Northrop) plus some "normal" Northrop F-5E.
It was named Best Fighter Squadron 1997; its roles were described: patrol and maintaign sovereignity of air space, strike missions, escort missions; air-to-ground missions: strike ground installations, ships, suppress enemy air defence, provide support of for friendly trops; additonally conduct F-5 pilot conversion.

The unit received again its Full Operational Capabity after re-equipping on STAe/Northrop F-5S on 04 April 1999, operating during its life few STAe/Northrop F-5S, STAe/Northrop F-5T and the 8 STAe/Northrop RF-5S. It was finally disbanded in November 2005, its aircrafts being reassigned to 144 and 149 Squadron.

           Photo: skyline-apa
141 Squadron Northrop RF-5E (
seen in flight with F-5S 817) after having been converted to RF-5S

Black Knights

   
   This is the aerobatic team of the Republic of Singapore; it flew 4 Haker Hunters until the 1978
   season, restarting its show with 5 Northrop F-5E in standard camouflage for the 1981 season
   only, performing again with Hakwer Hunters in 1983.


             Photo: J. Rehmann                                               Exhibition od the Black Knights in Singapore on 12-01-81
Exercises
Few exercises can be held in-country due to the limited space available.

"Commando Sling"
This bilateral exercise began in 1991 and regularly involves (divided in several exercise) Singaporean Northrop F-5s, STAe A-4SU, General Dynamics F-16 and US units deploying General Dynamics F-16C/D, McDonnel F-15C/F-15D and/or US Marines McDonnell F/A-18.
Twenty Singaporean aircrafts, General Dynamics F-16, Northrop F-5, STAe A-4, Hawker Hunters completed in September 1998, together with 6 USAF General Dynamics F-16C from Osan AFB (Korea) 36th TFS, a two-weeks training exercise to give pilots air combat experience with dissimilar aircrafts. The 98-4 edition saw also the participation of RAAF McDonnell A/F-18s.

The 2002 edition was held over the South China Sea from 28 Oct to 15 Nov 02, involving thirteen F-16s, eight F-5s, four A4-SU and six F-15s and approximately 200 personnel from the two air forces.
Exercise Commando Sling 2007 took place 5 January – 29 January with the  participation of four F-16 and four F-5 from the Singapore AF and six General Dynamics F-16 fighter from the USAF.

"Hotshot"
Is an annual competition among all fighter Squadrons, competing in air-to-air combat, air-to-ground bombing runs, aircraft maintenance and arming. In 2010 it took place at Tengah AB between January 18th and 22nd.

"Torrent"
This important exercise (apart from the annual  Best Topshot and Best Fighter Squadron competitions) consists in the use of a stretch of highway modified to be used as an emergency runway, is held approximately every five years. The first one was on 1986, followed by others in 1990 and 1992.
The 1997 edition took plate on December 07 at the Lim Chu Kang strip; two STAe A-4SU, 2 General Dynamics F-16A and 2 Northrop F-5S (one from 144 Squadron) participated.

               
STAe/Northrop F-5S serial 800, 144 Squadron landing at the Lim Chu Kang road strip on 07-12-97.
Note missing in-flight refuelling probe.                                                           Photo: Thomas Peter


10 Nov 2002 saw the fifth edition of the exercise, lasting only 18 minutes, with the participation of all types of  fighter aircrafts in service (including STAe F-5S) and one 1 Grumman E2C AEW aircraft.


The sixth  exercise (named Torrent VI) was held on 29/30-11-08 at the Lim Chu Kang strip; four STAero/Northrop F-5S together with 8 General Dynamics F-16C/F-16D and 1 Grumman E2C aircraft participated.

             
            Information about the modifications needed on the highway to house Torrent VI exercise


International exercises
are vital for the Republic of Singapore AF, due to the very limited space available at home and to enhance interoperability and mutual understanding; Tigers have participated to an important number of them.

144 sqn The year 2005 saw the participation to major exercises, including Bersama Shield, Bersama Lima; in 2006 to "Cope Tiger" exercise in Thailand (see below).

Some are listed hereunder in alphabetical order:

"ADEX"
a combined Air Defence Exercise over Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore involving the Five Powers Defence Agreement (Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and UK).

ADEX 90-2 included Royal Malaysian AF and Singapore AF F-5E, cross deployed between Kuantan AB (Malaysia) and Singapore, four RAF Tornado F.3 (5 Sqn) at Buttwerwoth AB and RAAF F/A-18 based at Singapore.
Northrop F-5E belonging to the 144 Squadron participated to ADEX 91-2 from Tengah together with Singapore AF General Dynamics F-16A, STAe A-4S, Hawker Hunter from 141 Squadron, RAAF F/A-18 from No 75 Squadron, General Dynamics F-111C from No 1 Squadron, Royal Malaysian AF F-5E from 12 Squadron, Douglas A-4PTMs, Royal New Zealand Douglas A-4K from No 75 Squadron.
The 1997 one day issue took place on 19 February saw the participation of Singaporean Northrop F-5E, General Dynamics F-16, STAero A-4SU, Malaysian MiG-29, BAe Hawk, Aermacchi MB.339, Lockheed KC-130 plus transport and helicopters of both countries.

"Air Thaising"

 This is an exercise with the participation of the Royal Thai AF, flying training taking place at  Khorat Royal Thai AFB. Northrop F-5E of 149 Squadron participated in 1992 to the exercise,  together with Singaporean and Thai General Dynamics F-16s.
 It was renamed Cope Tiger in 1994, see below.




"Bersama Shield"
This is an yearly, joint Air Forces/Navy exercise.

144 Squadron participated with ten
STAe/Northrop F-5S in 2005 to this exercise.

The 2007 edition took place from 23-04-07 till 03-05-07 at Butterwoth AB (Malaysia) with the participation of 149 Squadron's STAe/Northrop F-5S together with Malaysian AF BAe Hawk, RAAF McDonnell F/A-18 - General Dynamics F-111 and RAF BAe Jaguars plus various transport aircrafts and helicopters

The exercise took place over the Malaysian peninsula and the South China Sea 
in 2010 between 26-04 and 07-05, including six McDonnell F/A-18s from RAAF 75 Squadron and aircrafts from Malaysia, New Zealand and the RAF.

"Bersama Lima"
This is en exercise where Navies and Air Forces participate. 

The 2004 issue took place between the 10th and the 25th September; 10 STAero F-5S/F-5T from 144 Squadron, 6 Singapore AF F-16C/F-16D, 4 A4-SU, helicopters, Maritime patrol, Aircraft Early Warning and tanker aircrafts participated.
During 2005 it was 144 Squadron's turn.
Eight STAe/Northrop F-5S from 149 Squadron together with 18 General Dynamics F-16C/F-16D and 8 Australian McDonnell F/A-18, 3 General Dynamics F-111, 4 Malaysian McDonnell F/A-18D, 4 MiG-29, 6 BAe Hawk participated from 05 till 23-10-09 to this important exercise from various bases.

"Commando Sling"
This exercise started following an agreement in 1990 between Singapore and the USA to train USAF PACAF units, RAAF units took part to the exercise from 1998.

The September 1998 issue saw the participation of Singapore AF F-5s, F-16s and A-4SU, together with RAAF A/F-18s and USAF F-15s. STAe/Northrop F-5S of 144 Squadron participated to the exercise.
Singaporean F-5s, F-16s and A-4SU were present to several issues: Commando Sling 03-3 saw the participation of Alaska based USAF F-16s and US Marines F/A-18s in October 2003; issue 04-3 ran till June 2004, Korean based USAF F-16s were among the participants to dissimilar air-to-air training.


  "Cope Tiger", is an annual multilateral exercise between Thailand, Singapore, US Air Force
  and Marines units stationed in the Far East to improve interoperability and sharpening
  air  combat skills. It is normally held at Khorat AFB (Thailand).


  Singaporean Northrop F-5E and STAe/Northrop F-5S/F-5T regularly participated to many
  editions.  Known years of participation are:

1994 (first edition), 1998 (Northrop F-5E/144 Squadron), 2000 (11th-27th   January), 2002 (14th-25th January), 2004 (11th-27th  February), 2005 (24th January-04th February), 2006 (149  Squadron), 2007, 2008, 2009 (8 single-/double seaters from 149 Squadron), 2010 (
1 STAe/Northrop F-5S, 1  STAe/Northrop F-5T 144 Squadron; 1 STAe/Northrop F-5S, 1 STAe/Northrop F-5T 149 Squadron); 2012 (March 12th till 23rd); 4 STAe/Northrop F-5S, 2 STAe/Northrop F-5T 144 Squadron; 2013 (March 11th till 22nd) 4 STAe/Northrop F-5S, 2 STAe/Northrop F-5T 144 Squadron.

"Elang Indopura"
is a biennial air exercise with the Indonesian Air Force.

Northrop F-5 participated to the exercise for the first time in 1986.

Between 1987 and 1989 Singapore shared the costs of constructing the Siabu Air Weapons Range in Northern Sumatra (Indonesia) for live firing exercises.
The twelth editon of this exercise was held from 18 to 27 September 2002 with the participation of 6 STAero F-5S/F-5T, 5 Indonesian BAe Hawk and tankers, transports helicopters from both countries.

Singapore sent from 7 to 21 July 2004 6 Northrop F-5, 1 Lockheed C-130 Hercules and 2 Boeing CH-47 Chinook to Pekan Baru AB (Indonesia).
Another exercise, the 14th, was held at Iswahjudi AB from 11th to 22nd July 2006.

                
                
STAe/Northrop F-5S at Iswahjudi AB on 18-07-06.                               Photo: unknown

Another exercise (Elang Indopura XVI) was held at the Indonesian base Denpasar-Ngurah Rai in 2010 between November 29th and December 10th with the official participation of 13 aircrafts: Singapore - 4 SiAe/Northrop F-5, 4 F-16; Indonesia - 5 Lockheed Martin F-16.
Unofficial photos have shown many more aircrafts: 3 
Indonesian General Dynamics F-16A, 2 F-16B, Northrop F-5 and 2 Sukhoi Su-30MK2; Singapore sent 4 SiAe/Northrop F-5S/F-5T from 144 Squadron, four Lockheed-Martin F-16D, 2 McDonnel F-15SG.

  Denpasa Photo: Edy Permono
SiAe/Northrop F-5T 861 taking-off at Denpasar-Ngurah Rai AB during Elang Indopura XVI

Next dates of the exercise were November 19th till 30th, 2012, at Lombok (Indonesia); 6 Singaporean 
STAe/Northrop F-5S/F-5T and 4 Indonesian BAE Hawk 109/209 participated to the exercise.

"Pitch Black" is a biennial exercise performed jointly with Royal Australian Air Force normally held in Northern Australia (Darwin AB or Tindal AB), but as an exeption held at Amberley in 2002.
The 1990 edition (July 9th till August 6th) saw the participation of 144 and 149 Squadrons, its aircrafts flew nonstop to Darwin in 5 hours,  in-flight refuelled by 122 Squadron's KC-130. They attacked targets during the exercise in conjunction with RAAF McDonnell F/A-18As and USAF Rockwell B-1s and Boeing B-52s.

           

            Rocket launcher armed, with three long range tanks Northrop F-5E 804,
            149 Squadron, in in SEA camouflage at Darwin AB in July 1990.
                                                  
    Photo: archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

            
     Northrop F-5E serial 812, 144 Squadron, being serviced at Darwin AB on 24-07-90.
                                                              Photo: archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast


Six STAero/Northrop F-5S/RF-5S from 141 Squadron participated to the 2002 edition, which took place at Amberley and Williamtown (Eastern Australia) between 15th July and 2nd August; Australian McDonnell  F-18 Hornets, General Dynamics F-111, BAE Hawks and Lockheed C-130 Hercules met with Singaporean General Dynamics F-16, Grumman E-2C a Boeing KC-135R. This last enabled the transfer to Australia in two legs/days only, previous ferry operations to Brisbane used to take a total of 3 days with 4 separate legs, utilizing the KC-130 tanker, stopping in Bali, Darwin, Townsville (Cairns) and finally reaching Amberley (Brisbane), covering a distance of 3500 nautical miles.
The exercise took place in 2006 at Tindal AB from 28-07 till 18-08, STAe/Northrop F-5S and F-5T of 149 Squadron participated together with General Dynamics F-16 from Singapore and Thailand and local McDonnell F/A-18.

            
       STAe/Northrop F-5T serial 820 preparing for take off from Tindal AB on 14-08-06.
       Note burned-out earth.                         Photo: Australian Department of Defence

Three
STAero/Northrop F-5S, 2 F-5T from 144 and 149 Squadrons participated out of Tindal AB to the exercise from June 6th till June 27th, together with 8 General Dynamics F-16s, but from 2010 only F-16s fighters represented Singapore in Australia.

"Sindex" held in Singapore for the first time at Paya Lebar AB between 08-12 and 22-12-06 showed the growing defence cooperation with India; this sent for the first time Dassault Mirage 2000 and HAI Jaguar to mix with Singaporean General Dynamics F-16C/F-16D and STAero/Northrop F-5S/F-5T. The previous 3 exercises were held in India.

    Photo: Singapore AF
Singapore AF F-5S and Indian AF Jaguar IM maritime strike aircraft at
Paya Lebar AB in December 2006.

Kalaikunda AF Station (East India) saw the next edition from 26-11 till 13-12-07 involving STAe/Northrop F-5S and Indian AF MiG-27 ground attack fighters. This is probably the last time STAe/Northrop F-5S participated to the exercise, being replaced by General Electric F-16s.

Vanguard
The 1989, mainly based at Paya Lebar AB, saw the participation of Northrop F-5s from the 144 and 149 Squadrons together with local Douglas A-4s, Hawker Hunters; Australian Dynamics F-111s, McDonnell Douglas F-18s; R. Malaysian AF F-5s, Aermacchi MB-339s and New 
Zealand AF Douglas A-4.