Republic of Singapore Air Force
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) purchased 47 refurbished Skyhawks (40 A-4B, 7 TA-4) from U.S. in 1972. The aircraft were re-designated A-4S/TA-4S. The "T" version of the RSAF Skyhawk was unique in that, rather than the single "clam shell" canopy common to other TA-4 models, each TA-4S cockpit had a separate canopy.
From 1984 to 1989, the RSAF conducted a Skyhawk service life extension program. The 8,400-lb-thrust J65 engines were replaced with 11,000 lb. thrust F404-GE-100D turbofans. Other upgrades included modified engine air intakes; new structural mounts to accommodate the F404 engines; installation of new refrigeration, hydraulic pumps, air turbine starters, and oil coolers; new sensors, cockpit instrumentation, and state-of-the-art avionics; engine and environmental control systems; higher output electrical generators; and improved air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance carrying and control capability.
Re-designated as A-4SU "Super Skyhawk," the refurbished Skyhawks became operational in 1988, and Skyhawk pilot training was fully operational in March 1989. With the total RSAF inventory of about 60 aircraft, the three Singapore Skyhawk units (142, 143, and 145 Squadrons), operating from Tengah Air Base, made up a numerical majority of that country's military aircraft.
In late 1997, the RSAF Skyhawk training unit (143 squadron) was disbanded as part of a new advanced jet training effort. The former 143 Squadron A-4SUs were shipped to southwest France in September 1998 where, at Cazaux Air Base, 150 Squadron was established for advance training of RSAF pilots. The French site was selected because of available practice bombing ranges and airspace over the North Atlantic for ACM training, as well as opportunity for electronic warfare technique practice.
In October 2003, the RSAF announced three survivors in the competition to replace the A-4SU Skyhawk: the Boeing F-15T Strike Eagle, the Dassault Rafale, and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Dropped from consideration were the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Boeing FA-18E/F Super Hornet, and the Sukov Su-30/35 Flanker. A contract for as many as 24 replacement aircraft may be let in 2004, but, since the replacement for the A-4SUs is viewed as an interim solution, the final number ordered could be well below the projected 24 and the service life of the venerable old Skyhawk could be extended. The Lockheed-Martin F-35 JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) has entered the picture. Since Singapore is expected to be a player in the JSF project as a "Security Cooperation Participant," if the F-35 is ordered the first deliveries could occur as early as 2012-2015.
"Mike" of the "Skyhawk Study Group" has reported that 142 Squadron, the last Singapore Air Force A-4 Skyhawk squadron, was disestablished on April 1, 2005.
The SAF Advanced Jet Training Detachment (150 Squadron), consisting of four Skyhawks and currently operating from Cazaux, France, is scheduled for disestablishment in 2007.
12 April 2005
RSAF 150 Squadron
RSAF FTS Squadron
Article on the Singapore Skyhawks.
As of 23JUN05:
909 145021 (minus tail)
938 147823 (tail section only)