This week, Italy’s air force chief was in Singapore for an introductory visit. The trip put the spotlight on one of Singapore’s priority foreign defense partners as its Air Force commemorates a landmark anniversary this year.
Italy is one of a group of key foreign partners that the Royal Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has cultivated over the past few years, with others including the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. More generally, apart from the usual components of defense ties such as visits and exchanges, RSAF personnel have trained at Italian Air Force institutions and Singapore had also some Italian-origin aircraft.
The extent of air force cooperation and defense collaboration more generally have been growing over the years. The two defense establishments have been advancing cooperation in areas like robotics research in military operations, and according to Singapore’s defense ministry (MINDEF), the RSAF had its inaugural flying training deployment to Lecce Air Base in Italy last year.
Singapore’s partnerships with states like Italy have been highlighted in 2018 not only as part of regular interactions, but also as the RSAF commemorates its 50th anniversary. An example of this occurred this week when the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force Enzo Vecciarelli paid his introductory visit to Singapore from May 15 to May 17. Vecciarelli’s trip saw him visit several Singapore officials including Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, Chief of Defense Melvyn Ong, and Chief of Air Force Mervyn Tan.
During his visit, Vecciarelli and Tan signed a revised technical agreement that would facilitate the RSAF’s continued participation in the Italian Air Force’s (IAF’s) Advanced Fighter Pilot Training Course, following the earlier agreement that had been inked back in 2012 as collaboration on that score began to take off. He also visited several Singapore military installations, including the RSAF’s Air Force Training Command and Air Force Museum and the RSAF’s Participation Command at Sembawang Air Base.