Singapore begins two-month deployment to Guam

A contingent of air assets from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) – including multi-role fighters and compact airborne early warning (CAEW) aircraft – has arrived at Andersen Air Force Base (AFB), Guam, for a two-month deployment to the Pacific island.

The two-month deployment began on May 24, with the RSAF air contingent comprising Boeing F-15SG Strike Eagles, Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcons and a Gulfstream G550 CAEW aircraft. The deployment is designed to provide bilateral training for aircrews and maintenance personnel in a bid to enhance interoperability and cultivate regional partnerships.

RSAF G550 CAEW at Andersen AFB on May 24 2021 [USAF/Senior Airman Michael S Murphy]
An RSAF-operated Gulfstream G550 CAEW – serial 016 – from 111 Squadron at Tengah Air Base taxies off the runway after arriving for a two-month deployment at Andersen AFB, Guam, on May 24, 2021. Visible behind is an RSAF Airbus A330-243 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), which supported the deployment of F-15SGs and F-16C/Ds to the Pacific island. USAF/Senior Airman Michael S Murphy​​​

While deployed to Andersen, the RSAF will also train with US Navy Boeing EA-18G Growlers operated by the service’s Electronic Attack Squadron 132 (VAQ-132) ‘Scorpions’ from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington. This latest deployment continues a long-running Singaporean training presence on Guam, as the air arm has conducted bilateral exercises with the US Marine Corps since the early 1990s. More recently, the RSAF deployed to Andersen AFB for training purposes in 2019.

In December 2019, then-US Secretary of Defense Mark T Esper and Singapore’s Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding, establishing a permanent RSAF fighter training detachment in Guam. The training presence – which is scheduled to begin in 2029 – will consist of approximately one squadron of aircraft and associated personnel.

RSAF F-15SG at Andersen AFB May 24 2021 [USAF/Staff Sgt Nicholas Crisp]
A Boeing F-15SG Strike Eagle rests in an aircraft shelter after arriving at Andersen AFB, Guam, on May 24, 2021. This variant of the Eagle family is solely operated by Singapore, with 40 examples in operational service with the nation's air arm. USAF/Staff Sgt Nicholas Crisp

This effort will involve the construction of new hangars, aprons and support facilities. Additionally, the presence of RSAF fighters in Guam will provide more training and co-operation opportunities for Singapore, the US and their regional allies, which will ultimately improve interoperability between them.

The RSAF already operates from several other US Air Force bases across the continental US. The 425th Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Black Widows’ flies F-16C/Ds from Luke AFB in Arizona, while the 428th FS at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, hosts a detachment of RSAF F-15SGs. The Singaporean air arm also operates Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters from the Silverbell Army Heliport in Marana, Arizona.