The F-16 history within Singapore began in 1985 when an order for 8 F-16/79 aircraft and an option for 12 more was placed at General Dynamics. Only a couple of months after this decision, the ‘normal’ F100 powered F-16A/B models became available for the RSAF. The Singapore government therefore decided to change it’s order to this version, ordering 8 aircraft with the former options being abandoned after all.
140 squadron was chosen to be equipped with this new fighter since it was the only squadron within the Singapore air force still flying the ancient Hawker Hunter. The first F-16s were delivered in February of 1988, but only reached the squadron in January of 1990. They were delivered to Luke AFB first to train the Singapore pilots on the type.
RSAF F-16B #886
from 140 sqn at a post-FPDA exercise open house, Paya Lebar AB. [Photo by Mike Yeo]
Since the F-16 was the most advanced fighter in the Singapore inventory it was mainly tasked with air defence, leaving the other tasks to less potent aircraft. Soon after delivery, one of the aircraft was lost due to a mid-air collision with another F-16 of the squadron. Luckily only one crashed. Otherwise, at that time, a quarter of the fleet of RSAF F-16s would have been decimated at once.
After this initial batch of A and B models, the Singapore government opted for the more advanced C and D models in the mid nineties. Therefore, all squadrons were flying the advanced block 52 version of the F-16. Since standardizing on one type is more efficient, it was decided to abandon the older A and B models in 2005 although they were little over 15 years in service. The aircraft were donated to the neighboring Thailand in exchange for training facilities. One of the training contracts the Singapore government had signed with the USAF ended in the same year and a part of the RSAF F-16C/D’s therefore returned to Singapore. These aircraft equipped 140 sqn.
RSAF F-16C block 52 #611
from 140 sqn is ready for landing at Dijon AB during exercise 'Western Arc' on September 16th, 2004. [Photo by Emiel Bonte