Singapore Airshow 2018: RSAF flypast kicks off year-long golden jubilee celebrations

President Halimah Yacob unveiling the F-15SG in specially painted RSAF50 livery, at the Singapore Airshow at the Changi Exhibition Centre on Feb 7, 2018. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Three F-15SG fighter jets soared through the skies in a flypast over Changi on Wednesday (Feb 7), kicking off the air force's golden jubilee celebrations this year.

At the launch ceremony at the Singapore Airshow, another F-15SG, part of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) current fighter fleet, was unveiled in the 50th anniversary celebration paint scheme - blue and white, with the RSAF50 logo.

The logo's numeral "50" in the shape of the infinity symbol over the Singapore skyline is meant to represent how there are no limits to how far RSAF can go with the continued support of Singaporeans.

The flypast was witnessed by President Halimah Yacob and senior military officials.

In her keynote address, President Halimah, who was the guest of honour, said: "Together with the army and navy, the RSAF has safeguarded Singapore's sovereignty and provided the stability for Singapore to progress and grow.

"Indeed, Singapore's status as a vibrant air and trade hub today is founded upon the security provided by a strong defence force."

President Halimah also launched a commemorative RSAF50 mural. When completed, it will feature a montage of 50,000 photos contributed by Singaporeans during RSAF50 celebratory events throughout the year.

The President said that in the case of the RSAF, the challenge during Singapore's early years to build a credible force was even more acute as its limited geography meant that airborne threats could arrive at short notice.

"In order to keep our skies safe, the RSAF must have early warning capabilities and the ability to counter any threats from the air, round the clock, day and night."

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Others who attended the ceremony included Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung and Chief of Defence Force Perry Lim.

Foreign dignitaries were also present, some of whom were representatives of countries that the RSAF has trained in.

Referring to the support from friendly air forces over the years, Chief of Air Force Mervyn Tan said: "Our countries remain vulnerable to terrorist threats, such as the 9/11-style attacks. And with an increasing volume of air traffic, this close collaboration between our air forces will be even more critical today, to ensure the safety of our skies and the prosperity of all our nations."

Singapore's air force was formed in September 1968 as the Singapore Air Defence Command. Back then, it had only two Cessna aircraft for basic flight training.

It was formally inaugurated as the RSAF on April 1, 1975.

Other events lined up for the year include heartland exhibitions and a flypast over Marina Barrage during the National Day Parade weekend. All types of RSAF flying assets - fighters, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and transport aircraft - will be represented in the flypast.

The celebration culminates in the RSAF50 Parade, which will be held on Sept 1 and attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Paying tribute to the air force's pioneers, Major-General Tan said: "They swiftly inducted and operationalised capabilities to defend our skies. They also had a keen eye for the future, building a lasting culture of excellence and robust systems.

"Their vision and spirit continue to inspire the men and women of our air force today."

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