The Royal Australian Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II made its debut in Singapore, visiting Paya Lebar Air Base late last month. Personnel from 75 Squadron trained alongside their Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) counterparts in the air and on the ground, further enhancing the bilateral relationship while integrating 4th- and 5th-generation fighter aircraft. The bilateral engagements also involved aviator-to-aviator discussions during a fighter symposium hosted by RSAF’s 142 Squadron. The talks aimed to give RSAF a more in-depth understanding of the logistical and maintenance requirements of operating the F-35 platform.
Commanding Officer of 75 Squadron Wing Commander Martin Parker said,“Continuing to integrate the F-35A with regional partners was an important part of Air Force’s preparedness. The F-35A’s debut visit to Singapore enables our aviators to continue to develop these close relationships and our air force’s interoperability. We had the opportunity to fly the F-35A alongside the RSAF’s F-15SG Strike Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons during the dissimilar air combat training, building mutual understanding and teaching us how to better operate together in the region.”
Commanding Officer Republic of Singapore Air Force 142 Squadron Lieutenant Colonel Max Ng said,“The fighter symposium and professional interactions gave the air forces the chance to share unique operational experiences and identify more areas for combined training. We gained valuable insights into the F-35 operations, how it could enhance our operational capabilities and be integrated into the RSAF’s warfighting systems. The air combat training was valuable for everyone to push our skills, our aircraft and ourselves to the limit.”
The F-35A Lightning II is the Australian Defence Force’s first fifth-generation air combat capability. It is a highly advanced multi-role, supersonic, stealth fighter which will meet Australia’s requirements to defeat current and emerging threats. Advanced sensors and data fusion allow it to gather and share information faster than ever before. Capable of supersonic flight while retaining stealth, the F-35A has extraordinary acceleration, agility and 9G manoeuvrability. The first F-35A aircraft was accepted into Australian service in 2018. The first F-35A squadron, No. 3 Squadron, became operational in 2021. All 72 aircraft are expected to be fully operational by 2023.