SINGAPORE - The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) new Advanced Jet Trainer, the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 aircraft, was inaugurated into 150 Squadron at Cazaux Air Base in France on Wednesday afternoon.
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen officiated the ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ng emphasised the significant role of the M-346 aircraft in training the RSAF's next generation of fighter aircrew efficiently and effectively.
Noting how the M-346 aircraft allows for sophisticated simulations of modern aircraft environments, Dr Ng said: "It allows our trainee pilots to be able to be exposed to air combat environments within the cockpit - they can be simulated, as in handling electronic warfare systems, multi-mode radar and Beyond Visual Range missiles, early in their training. And I think this will enhance the quality and realism of our flying training, and allow us to produce fighter aircrew that are well-equipped to operate current and future fighter platforms."
The RSAF acquired the M-346 aircraft in 2010 as part of the Advanced Jet Trainer programme to replace the A-4SU Super Skyhawk, and took delivery of the first aircraft in 2012. To date, 150 Squadron has received the full fleet of 12 M-346 aircraft.
RSAF said in a press statement that the inauguration of the M-346 aircraft into 150 Squadron "underscores the importance of the RSAF's overseas training in honing its operational readiness and professionalism, and in enhancing both professional and personal interactions with other armed forces".
Dr Ng also commended RSAF personnel for their professionalism and dedication to their training, and expressed confidence that they would continue to push the training envelope to produce the next generation of world class fighter aircrew for a first class air force.
The RSAF's training in France, which began in 1998, has also enhanced the strong and broad-based defence relationship between France and Singapore, RSAF added.