The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) formally inaugurated its 150 Sqn training unit at Cazaux air base in France on 3 September, some three months after completing its first 1,000 flight hours with the Alenia Aermacchi M-346.
All 12 twin-seat trainers ordered from the Italian company in 2010 have now been delivered, Singapore’s ministry of defence confirmed during the inauguration event. The type has replaced its air force’s Douglas A/TA-4SU Skyhawks, several of which had been based in the south of France since 2008 under the terms of a bilateral agreement.
New aircraft deliveries began in 2012, and 150 Sqn started training its first ab initio pilots in February this year. “Maintaining high safety standards, the squadron achieved its first 1,000 accident-free hours on the M-346 aircraft in June,” the defence ministry says.
“The M-346 aircraft helps to enhance pilot training by introducing advanced combat skills at an earlier stage of training,” says 150 Sqn commanding officer Lt Col Kelvin Wan. “Skills such as radar employment, beyond-visual-range missile engagements and precision weapons delivery are all possible now.”
Also involving ST Aerospace and Boeing, the advanced jet trainer acquisition includes a suite of synthetic training equipment installed at the Cazaux site, where Singapore is due to continue its detachment until 2035.
“Together with the M-346 programme, the overhaul of RSAF Fighter Wings programme is now complete,” says defence minister Ng Eng Hen. The service also operates a fleet of 19 Pilatus PC-21 turboprops as part of its training system, with these flown by its 130 Sqn from Pearce air base in Western Australia.