Last week, Thailand’s new air force chief visited Singapore for an introductory visit.
Air Chief Marshal Johm Rungswang, commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Air Force, was in the city-state for a three-day trip from December 13 to December 15. Rungswang’s appointment was first publicly announced back in September along with hundreds of other promotions within the Thai military, which has ruled Thailand since a coup in May 2014.
During his trip, Johm called on his counterpart, Chief of Air Force Major-General Mervyn Tan, after inspecting a guard of honor. He also called on Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen at the country’s defense ministry.
As part of his visit, Johm co-officiated at the opening ceremony of Exercise Cope Tiger 2017 in Payar Lebar on the morning of December 15, Thai defense sources said. Exercise Cope Tiger is an annual trilateral aerial exercise conducted by the air forces of Singapore, Thailand, and the United States to improve readiness and boost multinational interoperability.
Johm kicked Exercise Cope Tiger 2017 off together with his colleagues from Singapore and the United States: Tan as well as Major General Michael Compton, Air National Guard assistant to the commander of Pacific Air Forces. Few further details were publicly provided about the exercise.
The last full iteration of Exercise Cope Tiger was held in Thailand back in March. The two-week exercise, launched near Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, featured over 2,000 personnel, 87 aircraft, and 48 air defense assets from the three participating countries, with over a thousand sorties completed during that period.
Singapore’s defense ministry (MINDEF) said in a statement that Johm’s visit illustrated the importance of the bilateral military relationship between the two Southeast Asian states.
“ACM Johm’s visit underscores the close and long-standing defense ties between Singapore and Thailand,” the statement said.
Johm is a 1955 graduate of the National Defense College, and also attended some schooling in Japan.