SINGAPORE - New Zealand will continue to evaluate the proposal for Singapore's F-15 jets to train at Ohakea Air Force Base in New Zealand in the long-term, it was disclosed on Tuesday (March 13) in Auckland at the second annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers' Meeting.
At the meeting, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and his New Zealand counterpart Ron Mark also reaffirmed the deep defence relations between the two countries, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) in a statement.
In August last year, The Straits Times reported that Singapore had asked the New Zealand government about accommodating F-15SG fighter jet training at Ohakea in the long-term. According to earlier New Zealand media reports, a move mooted was to deploy a squadron of F-15 fighters at the air base. The New Zealand Herald had reported that up to 500 people could be stationed at the base in Manawatu in the North Island.
New Zealand hosted Singapore for flying training from end August to September last year. The Republic of Singapore Air Force sent six F-16D+ fighter jets, support equipment and personnel to Ohakea for an exercise.
In its statement on Tuesday, Mindef said the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the New Zealand Defence Force agreed on further cooperation at the meeting. This would take place through air force staff talks, an education and training working group, as well as an operational working group.
Mr Mark, who was meeting as defence minister with a South-east Asian counterpart for the first time, said Singapore is New Zealand's closest defence partner in South-east Asia, said Mindef.
Dr Ng expressed gratitude for SAF training opportunities in New Zealand.
Both ministers recognised the longstanding collaboration between the two countries on overseas peace-support missions. The most recent was in Iraq as part of the coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Dr Ng and Mr Mark also affirmed their commitment to the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus framework and Five Power Defence Arrangements.