SINGAPORE: The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) will host a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) flying training exercise from Aug 30 to Sep 25, New Zealand Defence Minister Mark Mitchell said on Wednesday (Aug 2).
In a media release, Mr Mitchell said the training exercise will be held at New Zealand's Ohakea Air Force base, the country's third largest airfield.
The deployment will include six F-16D+ fighter jets, about 110 personnel and associated support equipment, Mr Mitchell said. The contingent will be based in Ohakea, but will carry out training missions throughout New Zealand, including day and night flying, using the country's air weapons ranges and conducting other training at both high and low altitude.
“Singapore is one of our closest defence partners. All three Services of the New Zealand Defence Force regularly train and exercise with their Singaporean counterparts, and it will be a pleasure to welcome this group to New Zealand,” Mr Mitchell said.
“Our two countries have an active agreement to explore opportunities for further military co-operation and training and this exercise aligns perfectly with that.”
Singapore has also asked the New Zealand government to consider accommodating F-15SG fighter jet training at Ohakea long-term, the New Zealand defence minister said.
“At the moment both countries are carrying out a range of studies to enable everyone to make an informed decision on a possible proposal. But we have similar values and it could be a good fit," Mr Mitchell said.
“This exercise is timely, in that it will provide valuable data for the process and how basing F15s at Ohakea might work for our Air Force."
In response to media queries, MINDEF confirmed on Thursday that about 110 RSAF personnel will be headed to Ohakea for flying training during the specified period.
"During the three-week exercise F-16D+ fighter jets will conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground training in both day and night conditions," MINDEF said.