SINGAPORE: The success of the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) latest alternate runway exercise gives Singapore “a lot of confidence that we will be able to protect our skies under all conditions,” said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Sunday (Nov 13).
Dr Ng was observing the exercise, codenamed Exercise Torrent, which saw a 2.5km stretch along Lim Chu Kang Road converted into a temporary runway.
A total of 12 fighter jets roared down the runway, including the F-15SG aircraft, which made their debut in the exercise.
“Singapore is a small country, we must always protect our airspace and this capability to be able to launch today 12 fighter jets – F-16s, and F-15s for the first time off Lim Chu Kang Road – shows that we can convert a highway into an airstrip,” said Dr Ng.
Nearly 1,000 RSAF servicemen – about half of them Operationally-Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) – were involved in this year’s exercise, which concludes Monday.
This is the seventh edition of Exercise Torrent, which was last conducted in 2008.
It was a mammoth 48-hour task converting the road into a runway. Dozens of road fixtures were temporarily removed, including 153 lamp posts, 14 traffic lights and 12 bus stops.
“It’s a big effort,” said Member of Parliament Vikram Nair, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence.
Apart from demonstrating the RSAF’s operational readiness, Mr Nair said the exercise was also important because it involved engaging civilians in the area, including farmers.
“Being operationally ready involves having the entire population ready, all the key stakeholders have to be engaged and I think this exercise shows we are fully capable of doing that,” he said.