Singapore has flown home its first Boeing F-15SG fighters, just under a year after taking delivery of the first examples.
Republic of Singapore Air Force pilots started training with US Air Force F-15s in July 2008, moving on to the F-15SGs at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, after the first of those were delivered in May 2009.
The service has assigned the F-15SGs to the 149 Squadron, which is based at Singapore's Paya Lebar Air Base.
"The F15SG is a major enhancement to Singapore's air defence capability, and will also play a significant role in the Singapore Armed Force's overall operations. The F-15SG squadron will increase the SAF's ability to deal decisively with future threats and meet our critical operational needs," says Singapore's defence minister Teo Chee Hean.
Boeing has delivered 18 of the 24 F-15SGs on order. Five more aircraft are expected to arrive in Singapore over the next few months, while the other six aircraft that are on order will be delivered in 2011.
Some aircraft will remain at Mountain Home where the RSAF maintains the Peace Carvin V F-15SG fighter detachment, part of the USAF's 428th Fighter Squadron. They will operate there for the next 25 years, says the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The F-15SG, which is powered by two General Electric F110-129 engines, includes the Raytheon APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array radar, Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pod, infrared search and track sensor and reportedly an Israeli-supplied electronic warfare system.
The aircraft has a maximum payload of 23,000lbs, allowing it to carry up to eight air-to-air missiles in an air-to-air configuration and up to fifteen 500lbs bombs in an air-to-ground configuration. Its weapons include the M61 20mm cannon, AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, AIM-9X air-to-air missiles, Maverick air-to-ground missiles and laser-guided bombs.
Singapore is considering the F-15SG for a follow-on buy even as it continues to study the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Industry sources say that it may hold a second competition to evaluate its options.