SINGAPORE - The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) pledged their commitment to enhancing cooperation and deepening relations as they marked the 40th anniversary of defence relations on Tuesday (Oct 12).
Top officials from both sides signed a Joint Declaration on Close Friendship and Cooperation, which reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen relations through initiatives such as joint exercises, leadership and professional exchanges and the mutual subscription of professional training courses.
The 40th anniversary commemoration ceremony held via video conferencing was co-officiated by Singapore Chief of Air Force Kelvin Khong and the Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff Fadjar Prasetyo, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) in a statement on Tuesday.
It featured a joint formation flying event involving seven F-16 aircraft from both air forces over the Marina South area in Singapore and the Barelang Bridge in Batam, Indonesia.
The ceremony was held in conjunction with Exercise Elang Indopura, a bilateral exercise that is held every two years.
In its 21st edition, this year's exercise took place in two parts: an exercise planning conference held virtually on Aug 23 and an air manoeuvring exercise held from Oct 11 to 14.
More than 130 personnel from both air forces and 12 F-16 fighter aircraft are involved in the exercise.
Major-General Khong said the exercise has come a long way since it began in 1980, and it continues to provide invaluable opportunities for airmen to interact and to learn from each other.
He added: "I am especially pleased to meet Pak Fadjar today in the air earlier, and to take part in the flypast together. It is something very different from the virtual meetings that we are so used to these days, and it was a very memorable experience for me."
Air Chief Marshal Fadjar said: "Even amid the Covid-19 pandemic, our air forces continue to seek new methods and new approaches to maintain the solid connection between air forces.
"Thus, it becomes the utmost commitment of the Indonesian Air Force, to put the Republic of Singapore Air Force as our strategic partner in the region, to further maintain its stability and prosperity for many years to come."
Apart from Exercise Elang Indopura, the two air forces also regularly engage in a wide range of exercises and activities such as visits, professional exchanges and cross-attendance of courses, said Mindef.
The previous edition of Exercise Elang Indopura was held in November and December 2018, and involved more than 150 personnel from both air forces and 16 fighter aircraft.