PHOENIX (Arizona) • Two Singapore F-15SG fighter jets on a night mission in Arizona to destroy a set of assigned targets are redirected by Command Post to take out four critical targets.
The objectives, hidden in a cluster of 12 similar-looking targets and spread out over a vast area, are uncovered by a Heron 1 unmanned aerial vehicle, another Singapore asset.
With the Heron 1 accurately identifying the four targets and their locations, the two F-15SG jets deliver four 900kg Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), destroying the targets.
During the ongoing Forging Sabre exercise, the same mission was executed twice with success.
The integrated live-firing exercise involves some 800 personnel from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the Singapore Army.
It marked the first time that the JDAMs, known as GBU-31s - GPS-guided precision munitions that can accurately target and destroy large or heavily fortified structures - were used during the biennial exercise.
A total of eight GBU-31s have been used in the 16-day exercise, where a record number of some 150 precision munitions have been employed. These include the Laser JDAMs, Laser-Guided Bombs, Hellfire missiles and M31 Unitary rockets.
Those picked must be competent in the air and on the ground, and more importantly, sensitive and adept in dealing with international affairs as we do not want anyone to jeopardise the great working relationship with the Singapore air force.
COLONEL MICHAEL RICHARDSON, vice-commander of the 56th Fighter Wing that works with the Peace Carvin II detachment of Singapore's F-16 fighter jet detachment, on the six American pilots who are seconded to the detachment.
The GBU-31s used are heavier than the Laser JDAMs that featured in the 2011 Forging Sabre exercise. The Laser JDAMs are also enhanced with laser seekers that improve accuracy.
The increased firepower and coordination between RSAF units are key milestones and highlights for the military service in the exercise, which started on Nov 28.
Held once every two years since 2005 except for 2007, the exercise drills the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) into a more integrated and lethal military.
This year, it has been taking place in a training area 20 times the size of Singapore, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Within the vast shrublands are two designated target areas measuring some 1,080 sq km in total, where targets have been hiding from attacks by the SAF.
Colonel Michael Richardson, vice-commander of the 56th Fighter Wing that works with the Peace Carvin II detachment of Singapore's F-16 fighter jet detachment at the Luke Air Force Base, said six American pilots are seconded to the detachment at any one time.
The stints last between one and two years, depending on their roles.
"Those picked must be competent in the air and on the ground, and more importantly, sensitive and adept in dealing with international affairs as we do not want anyone to jeopardise the great working relationship with the Singapore air force," the colonel added.
Kor Kian Beng