Commentary: Singapore’s response to potential air threats – well-oiled machines but the task remains difficult


MELBOURNE: The activation of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fighter jet over the weekend was heard by many around the country.

Ground observers noticed F-16s in the air on Saturday morning, flying over Singapore until around 11:30 a.m.

On the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the incident raised questions about the security of Singapore’s airspace and what could have triggered the RSAF’s response.

The Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) subsequently indicated in a statement that the RSAF had flown F-16s around 9.20 am Saturday morning “in response to a potential air threat”.

“After making sure our safety was not compromised, we suspended our plane,” the brief statement added.


Although MINDEF has not disclosed further details or identified the “potential air threat,” there have been previous reports of a Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) helicopter flying in Singapore airspace the same. day.

Open source flight tracking websites, including FlightAware, Flightradar24, and AirNav RadarBox, showed an RMP Leonardo AW139 helicopter with the registration 9M-PMD nearby that same morning.

The helicopter’s on-board transponder was recovered shortly after 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, taking off near a Federal Reserve unit camp just north of the causeway heading north and then east to about 170 km / h at an altitude of 210 m.

It then reached the Sungai Johor Bridge connecting Senai to Desaru where it suddenly turned southeast, about 14 km from Singapore airspace north of Pulau Tekong, before heading south towards Royal Malaysian Navy KD Sultan Ismail base helipad in Pengerang.



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