Singapore, US Choose Fort Smith for RSAF’s F-16 , F-35B Fighter Training

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The United States Department of Defence (DoD), in consultation with the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), has selected Ebbing Air National Guard Base at Fort Smith, Arkansas, as the preferred location to host the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)’s future F-35B fighter aircraft and F-16 fighter training detachment which will be relocated from Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, in Continental US (CONUS).

Selfridge Air National Guard Base at Harrison Township, Michigan, has been established as an alternate location. An environmental impact assessment will be conducted to assess suitability before the basing decision is finalised.

Ebbing Air National Guard Base was shortlisted following careful feasibility studies between the RSAF and the US Air Force (USAF), which included factors such as suitability of location and training area, infrastructure and logistics support, said MINDEF in a statement.

The co-location of the RSAF F-16s and F-35Bs will also maximise opportunities for integrated training. The RSAF also looks forward to enhanced joint training and exchanges with the USAF’s and US Marine Corps’ F-35s. Such overseas training is important for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to overcome local airspace constraints and to conduct high-end realistic training.

MINDEF and the US DoD interact regularly through military-to-military exchanges, training and courses, and defence technology cooperation. The US has provided long-standing support for the SAF’s overseas training in the US. In 2019, both countries also renewed the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Regarding US Use of Facilities in Singapore through the Protocol of Amendment and signed an MOU concerning the establishment of the RSAF’s Training Detachment at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. –sg/adj/aaa  (Photo: Singapore MINDEF)