Measures in place for aircraft that veer off flight path near S'pore: Defence Minister

A series of preventive measures will be triggered by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) should an aircraft veer off its flight path while flying near Singapore, said Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen.

Dr Ng was responding to a parliamentary question by Mr Gerald Giam on whether the RSAF has measures in place to identify and be alerted of aircraft flying near Singapore which veer off their flight path so that they can be intercepted in time before they reach Singapore.

In his reply, Dr Ng wrote: "The RSAF has a robust air defence system to monitor our skies and protect the sovereignty of Singapore's airspace. Working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the RSAF detects and identifies aircraft before they enter our airspace through its suite of radars.

"If an aircraft veers off its flight path, a series of preventive measures will be triggered.

"First, air traffic controllers will communicate with the aircraft to verify its reason for veering off its flight path. If there are doubts regarding the intent of the aircraft or the aircraft does not adhere to air traffic control directions, RSAF fighter aircraft will be activated to intercept the aircraft. Ground-based air defence systems will also be activated.

"On past occasions, the RSAF had responded swiftly to suspicious aircraft approaching our airspace. For instance, in 2008 when an unknown aircraft was detected heading towards Singapore, the RSAF activated our F-16 fighters to intercept and identify the aircraft, and the fighters escorted it till it landed."