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

 Till 1990 / From 1990              Credit:  Roundels of the world

                                                                     Last update 06-12-2018

Procurement
Consideration to replace the Hawker Hunter in service as fighters was given in 1975; the choice was to be between the McDonnell F-4, the Northrop F-5 and the IAI Kfir.

By late 1976 a Letter of Offer for the supply pf 18 Northrop F-5E and 3 F-5F, plus 200 AIM-9P Siderwinder air-to-air missiles at a total price of USD 109.7m, later increased to USD 113.0m was taken up
by the Government of Sigapore. The two seaters were to be delivere by late 1978, 15 single-seaters at two-a-month starting from January 1979 and the final three (attrition aircrafts) in December 1979.

                                                                 
                                                                                        Northrop F-5E serial 800 on a test flight.                            Photo: Northrop


The first batch of 2 Northrop F-5E and 3 Northrop F-5F arrived at Tengah AB on 22-02-79 on board an Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, two other batches followed the same way, delivery was completed by
October 1979.

Instructor pilots converted to the new aircraft at Luke AFB (USA) with the 425th Squadron, including live-firing exercises.

The sale of additional 6 Northrop F-5E was notified to the US Congress in July 1980, contract valued at approximately USD 33.8m including spares. These aircrafts figured some improvements, like an
extended dorsal fin, wing leading edge and the "sharkmouth" nose; they were delivered mid-1981.


Purchase of three more Northrop F-5F followed in 1982, costing USD 16.3m. These were air-delivered in February 1983 via the Atlantic Sea (8 days, US pilots) and the Middle East (8 days), a journey
through 16 countries and 14'800 km long; Singaporean pilots took-over the aircrafts at RAF Leuchars (UK) and flew them home via
France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar,
UAE, Oman, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand and Malaysia.

One Lockheed KC-130H was delivered in 1984, followed by four Lockheed C-130B converted in 1985/1986 to KC-130B air-refuellers in order to enable the in-flight transfer, mainly to exercise in Australia,
of the Northrop F-5s (and STAe A-4).


Another 6 Northrop F-5E were delivered in 1985. These participated in mid-November of this year to a Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB before being flown home via the same route, five immediately after the
exercise, one at the beginning of December.

             
 Northrop F-5E serials 838 and 841 transiting Prestwick (UK) on 19-11-85.                                                   Northrop F-5F serial 861 seen at Prestwick (UK) on delivery on 06-12-87
                                                                                                                     Ph
otos: Archive The F-5 Enthusiast

April 1987 saw the commission of of the Flight Simulation Center with an F-5 air combat simulator at Paya Lebar AB, one of the best in South East Asia, extensively used by the Air Forces of Malaysia and
Indonesia. By April 2010 there were four simulators at 
Paya Lebar AB.

A batch of 5 additional Northrop F-5E were received in 1989. These were built from stock parts, as the production line had already closed down, again air-delivered via the Atlantic route. This brought the
grand total of 35/3
6 single- and 9 double-seaters.
                                                                 
                                                                                Northrop F-5E serial 870 partially painted at Mojave photographed in November 1988.
                                                                                                              
Photo: Charles R. Stewart

Primary role of these aircrafts was air defence, armament including Raytheon AIM-9P Sidewinder (which have supplanted the AIM-9J version), followed by strike. For this last role Hughes AGM-65A Maverick
were acquired, plus Mk 82 500lbs bombs and LAU-60/A and -68/A rocket launchers.

                                                                
                                                                       Three Northrop F-5E seen on simultanous take-off at Paya Leabar AFB, note no air-refuelling probe

By 1990 Singapore had a supporting Northop F-5 unit at Clark AFB (Philippines), with crews being supplied in a rotation system.

Final acquisition were seven former Jordanian AF Northrop F-5Es, bought in 1994. These were probably directly modified to STAe/Northrop F-5S standa5d.

New main air-defence fighter
Replacement of the STAe/Northrop F-5S as the main Singaporean fighter came with the progressive establishment, between August 1998 and 2004, of three General Dynamics F-16
equipped Squadrons, initially armed with the F-16A and F-16B version, later with General Dynamics F-16C and F-16D Block 52+ versions, though the updated Northrop fighter still
remained a very important pillar in Combat Air Patrols, sweep and escort missions and interception of hostile aircrafts.


Camouflage
Aircrafts were originally delivered in a three-tone grey camouflage scheme. Beginning 1995 repainting in a two-tone grey scheme (similar to local F-16s) started, to be completed by late 1996 on aircrafts belonging
to 149 Squadron.

Various experimental colours were applied on some aircrafts during the 1980s/early 90s. They included a 3-tone blue, an early SEA camouflage and one natural metal.

                                                                
                                                             Northrop F-5E in an early 1983 SEA camouflage in a line-up with standard camouflaged aircrafts
                                                                         seen Australia in 1983

                        

   
        STAe/Northrop F-5S 834 with AIM-9P Sidewinder  
Photo: P. Steinemann                               Northrop F-5S in the latest colours armed with TV-guided AGM-6B (port) and AGM-6D (starboard side)
                                                                                                                                                 infrared guided
Mavericks missiles.                                                                           Photo: Roy Choo           
30 years in service - Withdrawal from use
According an USA source there were 49 aircrafts in service in 2004. Final Northrop F-5S/T were retired by August 2015.

                                                                                    Photo: Kelvin Loh
                                                                                  Northrop F-5T seen in September 2009 in Tiger colours, 30 years anniversary of use

                                                                 
                                          
                                                      Detail of the tiger striped/30 years     Head painted on tail of the last single- and  double-seaters (serials 853 and 819) in use.