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Singapore Airshow 2022: Singapore receives initial batch of upgraded F-16s

A Republic of Singapore F-16 on display at Singapore Airshow 2022. Based on information received by Janes at the event, this example has yet to receive the upgrades that were disclosed by MINDEF in 2015. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has taken delivery of an initial batch of upgraded F-16s.

The milestone was confirmed by RSAF chief Major General Kelvin Khong, in a written reply to questions that had been sent to the service in the run-up to Singapore Airshow 2022.

“Our F-16C/Ds fleet of fighter aircraft is being upgraded in phases, and we have commenced initial deliveries of the upgraded F-16 in June 2021,” said Maj Gen Khong in the reply.

“Subsequent deliveries will be rolled out progressively to ensure that the RSAF continues to have a capable fleet of fighter aircraft to meet our defence requirements. We will continue to operate these fighter aircraft for at least another decade and are working towards replacing the F-16s at the end of their operational life,” he added.

Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) disclosed in 2013 that it was embarking on an effort to upgrade the RSAF's fleet of 20 F-16C and 40 F-16D Block 52/52+ multirole combat aircraft. The upgrades would “modernise their avionics and extend their lifespan”, said Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen at the time, without revealing further details.

In 2015 MINDEF published a fact sheet that further detailed the upgrades that would be received by the fleet. These included a new active eletronically scanned array (AESA) radar that “represents a significant capability upgrade, extending the F-16‘s detection range and enabling the fighter aircraft to track and engage multiple targets at greater distances”.

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