SINGAPORE: Singapore and the United States have agreed to set up a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fighter training detachment in Guam, its fourth such detachment on US territory.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Saturday (Dec 7) by Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and his US counterpart, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
It lays out the framework for the RSAF’s detachment in Guam, covering the deployment of F-15SG and F-16 fighter aircraft and other supporting assets to the Anderson Air Force Base for training.
The agreement was reached following studies conducted with the US on a number of factors, including the suitability of the training area, infrastructure and other types of support, said Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).
“The vast training airspace in Guam will allow the RSAF to conduct realistic training, to hone their capabilities and readiness,” it said.
GUAM TO BE FOURTH RSAF DETACHMENT IN US
Due to airspace constraints in Singapore, the RSAF has to look overseas to meet its training requirements.
Guam will be the air force’s fourth detachment on US territory after the Peace Carvin II F-16 fighter detachment at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, Peace Carvin V F-15SG fighter detachment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho and Peace Vanguard AH-64 Apache helicopter detachment at Marana, also in Arizona.
The RSAF also has training detachments in Australia and France.
“These overseas detachments serve RSAF’s training needs to maintain operational readiness for Singapore’s air defence,” said MINDEF.
“This detachment in Guam, alongside other fighter deployments which train in the region such as in Australia, India and Thailand also allow quick redeployment of assets back to Singapore when required.”
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has trained in Guam since the 1990s and has deployed RSAF aircraft to the island since 2017 to conduct training with the US.
The possibility of Singapore establishing an RSAF training detachment in Guam was mentioned in 2016 in a joint statement between the two countries.
At the signing of the agreement on Saturday, Dr Ng said the training detachment allows the RSAF fighter force to achieve operational readiness.
It also reaffirms Singapore's position that the region's stability requires the influence and presence of the US, he added.
In his meeting with Mr Esper, Dr Ng expressed appreciation for the US' support for SAF's training in the country. Both men also reaffirmed the “excellent and long-standing defence relationship” between Singapore and the US, MINDEF said.
They also discussed a range of geopolitical developments, including the need to work closely with ASEAN countries to address regional security issues such as counter-terrorism, the ministry said.
Dr Ng is in the US until Sunday to attend the 7th Reagan National Defense Forum, where he will speak at a panel session titled Advancing US National Defense: Working with Allies and Partners.