The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is considering a shortlist of locations on offer from the Australian government as permanent advanced jet-training bases.

The RSAF study is running concurrently with a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) review of airfield requirements, and the Australian Defence Force (ADF), while not actively courting Singapore, is willing to co-operate.

The RSAF has been seeking a suitable base to expand its Australian activities into advanced training, following curbs resulting from noise complaints at the RAAF's Amberley, Queensland base, resulting from RSAF TA-4S/S-1 Skyhawk operations.

Singapore is not interested in using any of the RAAF's three "bare base" forward deployment airfields in the remote north of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland, because it requires proximity to supplies, a workforce, and civil infrastructure. A number of possible locations has been tentatively proposed by the ADF, including the Defence Department's Defence Support Centre at Woomera, South Australia, which is being wound down and offers ample runways and buildings. Woomera is 500km from Adelaide, the closest major centre, however, and is unlikely to be favoured because of its remoteness.

Sites at regional centres have been ruled out because of possible noise complaints; and Parkes in central New South Wales eliminated because of the nearby location of a radio telescope.

The Singaporean Government is also understood to have raised the possibility of building its own dedicated airfield at a location to be agreed with the Australian Government. One potential site may be the civil airport at Rockhampton on the central Queensland coast, close to the ADF's Shoalwater Bay tropical military training area, where the Singaporean army and air force regularly deploy units. Another could be a dedicated site near Rockhampton. The question is expected to be put before the Australian Federal Cabinet shortly.

Singapore already has an initial jet training operation at Pearce, near Perth in Western Australia.

Source: Flight International