Earlier this month, Singapore and the United States commemorated a decade of a Singapore fighter aircraft detachment based in the United States. The exercise highlighted an important aspect of security ties between the two countries amid wider domestic and regional trends and developments.
As I have noted before in these pages and elsewhere, Singapore and the United States have long had a defense relationship as part of what is officially termed a strategic partnership. The United States is a key supplier of defense technology and facilities for military training for Singapore, while the city-state is a valuable regional partner across a range of issues, from counterterrorism to maritime security.
One of the components of that defense relationship is the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) Peace Carvin V (PC V) detachment. The PC V, which was part of the Peace Carvin program that begun in 1988 when the RSAF acquired F-16A/B fighter aircraft from the United States, was inaugurated in November 2009 by then-Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Teo Chee Hean. It is one of several of such detachments with the RSAF that offer it the ability to train, with others including the PC II detachment with F 16 C/D fighter aircraft and the Peace Vanguard detachment with the AH-64D Apache helicopter.
Earlier this month, this manifestation of the U.S.-Singapore defense relationship was in the spotlight with activities commemorating the tenth anniversary of the PC V detachment. The activities to celebrate 10 years of F-15 SG fighter aircraft training were held at Mountain Home Air Force Base (MHAFB) in Idaho on October 11, following the conclusion of the seventh iteration of integrated strike exercise Forging Sabre that was held from September 23 to October 10.
The anniversary, which was attended by U.S. and Singapore officials, military personnel, and local community members, comprised of a series of interactions. Per Singapore’s defense ministry (MINDEF), Heng Chee How, senior minister of state for defense who officiated the celebrations, inspected a parade formed by PC V personnel and witnessed by senior U.S. Air Force personnel and also unveiled a commemorative tail flash on the F-15SG fighter aircraft which symbolized the 10 years of fighter training in the United States and the partnership between the air forces of both countries.
In his remarks at the anniversary commemoration, Heng highlighted the critical role of the PC V detachment in the development of the RSAF’s F-15SG program, calling it “the anchor” of the program with its role in validating warfighting doctrines and training personnel including pilots, weapons systems officers, and instructors. In addition and separately, he also met with U.S. Senator James Risch to express gratitude for his support for the detachment as well as to discuss other related developments in the U.S.-Singapore defense relationship. Those interactions reinforced the continued significance of the detachment for Singapore within the broader security ties it has with the United States.