SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Fighter squadron servicemen, including pilots and ground crew, reported to their airbases Sunday (Dec 10) as part of a regular mobilisation exercise held to validate the units' operational readiness.
The Open Mobilisation exercise, launched at noon, saw active and operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) from five of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) fighter squadrons reporting to Changi Air Base, Paya Lebar Air Base and Tengah Air Base within hours of the activation.
More than 90% of the servicemen reported to their air bases within a few hours, defence minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook posting on Sunday, calling it a "successful Open Mobilisation exercise".
"Such exercises are important to maintain the SAF's (Singapore Armed Forces) operational readiness," Dr Ng said.
The SAF conducts between 20 and 30 mobilisation and equipping exercises every year, which involve units from the Singapore army and navy as well.
The ministry of defence (Mindef) said the RSAF conducts mobilisation exercises regularly to "validate the operational readiness of units on manning duties, as well as to ensure that the SAF's activation processes are kept warm and relevant".
The RSAF servicemen activated yesterday were part of the Air Combat Command's Fighter Group.
The personnel included air crew and ground crew who operate and ensure the readiness of fighter aircraft to safeguard Singapore's skies and sovereignty, Mindef said.
During the mobilisation exercise, chief of defence force, Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong, visited Paya Lebar Air Base, where servicemen from the 142 and 149 Squadrons reported to.
Major (NS) Freddie Lim-Ng, 38, was among the operationally ready national servicemen who were mobilised.
The F-15SG pilot from the 142 Squadron said: "The purpose of this mobilisation exercise is to ensure that the processes for recalling NSmen as well as active crew are well oiled, and that we can come back at a moment's notice to serve the country, especially in times of need."
Mr Lim-Ng said that by getting together with the active air crew, he also got up to speed on the tasks that would be required for his next in-camp training.
Major Dhinaa Kumaar, 40, an F-15SG Weapons Systems Officer (Fighter) with the 142 Squadron, said that the "timeliness of the response" of the servicemen in the mobilisation exercise reflects their commitment to the defence of the nation.
Mindef said: "As a small country with no strategic depth, it is critical that Singapore possess an effective and ready air force as the first line of deterrence and defence."
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) announced that it would conduct military exercises across Singapore in a statement on Friday (Dec 7), including live-firing exercises by the army and air force. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network