143 squadron was the first RSAF squadron that flew the more advanced F-16C/D block 52 version. The decision to order more F-16s was already taken in 1993, with a contract signed in 1994. However the first aircraft were delivered only in April of 1998. The entire order for 18 F-16C/Ds in the ‘Peace Carvin II’ order was completed by December of the same year.
These F-16s started replacing the upgraded A-4SU which was coming to the end of its flying hours. Together with the purchase of these aircraft, a complete weapons package was also ordered. This contained the LANTIRN system, a batch of approximately 100 AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles and the possibility to carry the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile. Singapore became one of the first countries to incorporate this missile onto the F-16.
RSAF F-16C block 52, #610
, performing a 1 minute demo scramble. Note AIM-9
acquisition round on starboard station. She has no LAU-128 missile launchers installed yet! Photo taken at RSAF Open House 2003. [Photo by Andrew Eddy]
Besides an air defence missions, this squadron was also tasked with air-to-ground missions as coastal defence. Because of this special tasking, the number of dual seat D-models was larger then in a ‘normal’ setting, having 6 examples out of a total of 18 aircraft to its disposal.
In recent years, these early block 52 aircraft were upgraded with more advanced avionics and additional capabilities like the integration of a Helmet Mounting Cueing System and the introduction of Israeli Python 4 missiles in the inventory. With these additions, the capabilities of the RSAF were expanded drastically.