The United States (US) Government has accepted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s offer of assistance conveyed during US Vice President Kamala Harris’s visit to Singapore earlier this week, for a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (A330 MRTT) aircraft to assist in the evacuation of Afghanistan evacuees. The A330 MRTT will be deployed to transport evacuees currently relocated in Qatar to Germany or other receiving countries.
On Singapore’s participation in the evacuation efforts, Dr Ng said, “The urgent need is to protect evacuees and other civilians, and Singapore is making a direct contribution to this humanitarian cause. We cannot imagine the fear and terror that these displaced people are facing, arising from the situation in Afghanistan. But we take some comfort that the SAF, through this mission, can play a part in providing for a more secure and safe future for some displaced families and individuals”.
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen was at Changi Air Base (East) to meet and send off Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel deployed for this mission, together with senior SAF officers including Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong and Chief of Air Force Major-General Kelvin Khong. A total of 77 SAF personnel, comprising pilots, aircrew, engineers and Singapore Army security personnel, will be involved in this humanitarian mission.
The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330. A total of 12 nations have placed firm orders for approximately 60 aircraft, of which 46 had been delivered by 30 November 2020. In February 2014, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) selected the A330 MRTT over the Boeing KC-46, and signed for six aircraft. They are fitted with Trent 772B engines and configured for a maximum capacity of 266 passengers or 37,000 kilograms (82,000 lb) of cargo, as well as a maximum fuel weight of 111,000 kilograms (245,000 lb).