F-16 Fighting Falcon News

RSAF to use Indian airbase for F-16 training

October 11, 2007 (by Asif Shamim) - Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has signed a defence agreement with India to use one of its airbases to conduct joint exercises for the next 5 years.

RSAF F-16D similar to this example, to be a regular site over Indian skies.

The RSAF have been plagued with a shortage of airspace to conduct training and have been visiting Gwalior AB for regular joint bilateral exercises called ‘Sindex’ with there Indian counterparts since October 2004. The deal mean the RSAF can now use Kalaikunda airbase and the nearby firing ranges to train its pilots on a long term basis.

For the two air forces, the Kalaikunda base will be the hub of operations. This IAF base in West Bengal was developed recently to serve as the second staging post after Gwalior for conducting exercises with foreign air forces. The base is equipped with latest facilities and is located in a congestion-free air space.

Singapore will pay for the usage of the training facilities and any possible future upgrades required at that base during there stay. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is excited by the arrangement as this gives them the opportunity to go head to head against the RSAFs F-16s. The aircraft is also the primary fighter jet in use by there neighbour Pakistan, with which India has gone to war three times in the past.

The agreement was signed by Defence Secretary Vijay Singh and Singapore's Permanent Secretary of Defence, Chiang Chie Foo during a Defence Policy Dialogue in New Delhi, the Indian capital.

Singapore has one of the most potent air forces in its region. The prosperous island nation, with a total area of just 700 sq km, currently uses the Pearce Airbase in Australia for basic flying training and the Cazaux Airbase in France for fighter pilot training. It also uses facilities in the US at Luke AFB, Arizona for advanced training.

Additional images:

SINDEX - 04, EX - ANKUSH exercise patch [Asif Shamim Collection]

SINDEX - 06/03 exercise patch [Michael Weinberger Collection]