Singapore Seeks Replacement Aerial Refueling Tankers
By Wendell Minnick
TAIPEI — The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has issued a request for information for aerial refueling tankers with an eye toward replacing its Boeing KC-135R Stratotankers, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense.
“This is part of the RSAF’s on-going efforts to maintain its operational effectiveness,” Col. Desmond Tan told Defense News.
Tan did not identify RFI recipients, but defense industry sources attending the recent Singapore Airshow said the candidates include the Boeing KC-46A and Airbus Military A330 multi-role tanker transport. The U.S. Air Force selected the KC-46 in February 2011 for the KC-X tanker competition to replace its aging KC-135s. Airbus displayed the A330 tanker transport at the Singapore Airshow earlier this month, but Boeing displayed only its 787 Dreamliner commercial passenger jet.
The RSAF has four KC-135R tankers based at Changi Air Base with the 112 Squadron. It also has four Lockheed Martin KC-130B refuelers based at Paya Lebar Air Base with the 122 Squadron. The tankers support the RSAF’s Boeing F-15SG and Lockheed F-16C/D fighter squadrons.
Singapore-Malaysian Naval Exercise
The Ministry of National Defense has announced the beginning of Exercise Malapura, a bilateral maritime exercise, run jointly by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN). The exercise will run from Feb. 27 to March 7. Singapore is hosting the 22nd Malapura, begun in 1984, and the opening ceremony at Changi Naval Base on Feb. 27. RSN Fleet Commander Rear-Admiral Lai Chung Han and RMN Fleet Operations Commander Vice Adm. Dato’ Wira Jamil bin Hj Osman officiated at the opening.
The RSN and RMN interact regularly, including professional exchanges and courses, as well as multilateral activities as part of the Five Power Defence Arrangements. Both have been working to enhance maritime security through the Malacca Strait Patrols arrangement to stem piracy and terrorism.
Over 500 personnel from the RSN and RMN are involved in the 10-day exercise. Both navies will carry out joint planning and training at Changi, and conduct drills in conventional naval warfare and maritime security in the Malacca Strait.
The RSN is taking part in the exercise with the new 3,200-ton RSS Formidable multi-mission frigate, the 600-ton RSS Valour missile corvette, and the 500-ton RSS Brave anti-submarine warfare patrol vessel. The Formidable class is one of six frigates based on the French-designed La Fayette frigate commissioned in 2007.
The RMN is participating with a 2,300-ton KD Jebat frigate and two 1,600-ton Kedah-class missile corvettes, the KD Terengganu and KD Selangor. Malaysia acquired six Kedah-class corvettes beginning in 2001 and ending in 2006 with the Selangor.