French Navy Jet Fighters Conduct Exercise with Republic of Singapore Air Force Jet Fighters
French Navy Jet Fighters Conduct Exercise with Republic of Singapore Air Force Jet Fighters

French Navy Jet Fighters Conduct Exercise with Republic of Singapore Air Force Jet Fighters

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-15SG (F-15E Strike Eagle) and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets have recently completed a Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT) with the French Navy (Marine Nationale) Rafale M F3-R carrier-borne fighter jets. Under the banner of Mission Rastaban, three Rafale M fighter jets embarked on French Navy carrier Charles de Gaulle have executed their longest force projection yet, flying 4,000 km (2,159 nm) from the Indian Ocean to Singapore. The training was conducted in the southern reaches of the South China Sea, within international airspace. This bilateral training with the French Navy has allowed our aircrew to conduct professional interactions and cross-share best practices with the Republic of Singapore Air Force counterparts.

French Navy Rafale M F3-R fighter jet
French Navy Rafale M F3-R fighter jet

The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. For carrier operations, the Rafale M F3-R model has a strengthened airframe, longer nose gear leg to provide a more nose-up attitude, larger tailhook between the engines, and a built-in boarding ladder. Consequently, the Rafale M weighs about 500 kg (1,100 lb) more than the Rafale C. It is the only non-US fighter type cleared to operate from the decks of US carriers, using catapults and their arresting gear, as demonstrated in 2008 when six Rafales from Flottille 12F integrated into the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Air Wing interoperability exercise.

Republic of Singapore Air Force F-15SG fighter jet

The F-15SG (formerly F-15T) is a variant ordered by the Republic of Singapore Air Force after an evaluation involving five other fighters. It was chosen on 6 September 2005 over the Dassault Rafale, the only other remaining aircraft in contention. An order for 12 F-15SGs was placed in December 2005. On 22 October 2007, Singapore exercised an option for eight more F-15SGs within the original contract. Four more were later bought. The first F-15SG was rolled out on 3 November 2008; deliveries began in 2009; all 24 were declared operational in September 2013. Further F-15SGs were ordered, including 8 in 2010 and 8 in 2014, for a total of 40 F-15SGs by 2018. The Republic of Singapore Air Force equipped their F-15SG fleet with GE F110 engines.

Dassault Rafale M fighter jets embarked on French Navy carrier Charles de Gaulle. (Photo by Ministère des Armées)

The Republic of Singapore Air Force F-15SG equivalent variant are based on the block 52+ aircraft. In March 2010, it was announced that the Egyptian Air Force would purchase 20 Block 52 aircraft (16 F-16Cs and 4 F-16Ds), the first of which arrived for testing in April 2012. This variant’s main differences are the addition of support for conformal fuel tanks (CFTs), a dorsal spine compartment, the APG-68(V9) radar, an On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS), and a JHMCS helmet. The CFTs are mounted above the wing, on both sides of the fuselage and are easily removable. They provide 440 US gallons (1,665 L) or approximately 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) of additional fuel, allowing increased range or time on station and free up hardpoints for weapons instead of underwing fuel tanks.