Singapore's most modern fighter jets are now combat ready, strengthening the Republic's air defence shield. The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) 24 F-15 SG fighter jets went operational on Wednesday.
Singapore received its first F-15 aircraft in 2009. The F-15 jet is considered one of the top fighter planes in the world. It has racked up a combat record of 104 victories and zero losses in 30 years of air battles worldwide.
Men and machines were put through a series of tests and training exercises, among other things, to certify that the F-15s' weapons systems and flight performance fully meet the RSAF's requirements. Attaining "full operational capability" means they can be deployed in any combat missions.
The F-15s are a critical part of the RSAF's arsenal to pre-empt air threats and gun down hostile targets. Other weapons include the G550 early warning surveillance jets, the SPYDER air defence system, all of which are already combat-ready. The ASTER-30 surface-to-air missile system will soon be added to the RSAF suite of sensors and shooters.
At a ceremony to declare the F-15s combat-ready, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Wednesday that the RSAF's ongoing modernisation drive is not without its bumps. "Each time we changed and added new capability was a test for the RSAF - there was no certainty of success and no lack of problems to operationalise new assets. But I am glad that the RSAF has succeeded each time, and with each success, given us the confidence to plan and go even higher."
Besides being able to fly farther and carry more bombs than the other fighters in the RSAF arsenal, the F-15 has an advanced radar system that has never been sold outside the United States before.