Singapore is investigating the crash of a Lockheed Martin F-16 on 8 May, its first fighter crash in two decades.

According to the nation’s defence ministry, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fighter “experienced an issue” while taking off from the nation’s Tengah air base just after noon. The pilot, responding “in accordance with emergency procedures”, was able to eject safely.


Source: Republic of Singapore Air Force

A Republic of Singapore Air Force F-16 similar to the one that crashed

“The last time we had a fighter jet crash incident was 20 years ago,” says defence minister Ng Eng Hen in a social media post.

“It’s a credible record but obviously disappointed over this incident – the goal for the RSAF must still be zero crashes. Full investigations are underway to make sure all factors are identified and rectified decisively.”

The air force has suspended F-16 training until investigations determine that it is safe to resume.

Ng adds that the pilot underwent a medical examination and has “no major injuries”, and that following safety procedures “saved his life”.

“No serious injuries were detected – he is ambulant, conscious, and talking. But as a precaution, [he] will stay in hospital for observation.”

The last time an RSAF fighter crashed was in 2004, when an F-16C went down during night training in Arizona, the USA. The pilot was killed in the accident.

The F-16 has been the cornerstone of the RSAF for decades. The country is in the process of upgrading about 60 F-16C/Ds to the F-16V standard, with the first upgraded example delivered in 2021.

The upgraded F-16 features a new active electronically scanned array radar in the form of the Northrop Grumman APG-83. It also has new mission computers, updated avionics, and the Link 16 datalink.