December 13, 2004 (by Bjorn Claes) - Singapore will donate its F-16A/B fleet to Thailand at the start of 2005. The vipers will be used by the RTAF to supplement the assets already in service with its Air Force.
RSAF four-ship of the original Peace Carvin I program over the Singapore skyline. Alpha's #881 and #882 and Bravo's #885 and #887. [Photo by Peter Steineman]
This news was announced by RTAF
Commander-in-Chief, Kongsak Wanthana at a press conference on November 18th.
On November 12th a memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two nations covering both the delivery of the 7 F-16s (3 Alpha models and 4 Bravo models) and the training facilities that the RSAF
will get in return. In the MoU
the RSAF is allowed to train 3 times a year at Udon Thani AB in Thailand
for a maximum of 60 days a session with a maximum of 20 aircraft and this for a period of 15 years.
This deal has many advantages for both parties. Singapore
will have access to vast training facilities in Thailand and is able to rationalise its F-16 fleet and operate only the latest C/D models of the venerable viper. Thailand on its behalf will get 7 extra airframes to supplement its already owned airframes in a short timeframe. This deal signifies the good relationship between the two Asian countries, both members of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).