The Five Power Defence Arrangements marked its 40th anniversary in Singapore this afternoon with a display of airpower at Changi Air Base (East), off Changi Airport.
Supporting the display were warplanes from all five FPDA signatories, viz Australia (RAAF F/A-18A Hornet), Malaysia (TUDM F/A-18D Hornet), New Zealand (RNZAF P-3K Orion), Singapore (RSAF F-15SG Strike Eagle) and the United Kingdom (RAF Typhoon).
The warplanes are deployed to the region for FPDA war games codenamed Exercise Bersama Lima, which pits air and naval forces from the five nations against a simulated attack by conventional forces against peninsula Malaysia and Singapore.
Heavy air activity over West Malaysia and Singapore island provided Singaporean plane spotters with a bonanza of aircraft spotting opportunities. This includes flying activity this past weekend from the Republic of Singapore Air Force's Paya Lebar Airbase, which had a busy time sending up and recovering multiple strike packages comprising F-15SG Strike Eagles and C-130 Hercules sorties.
This morning, attention was centered on Changi's Runway 3 as FPDA warplanes came in to roost at the RSAF's Changi Airbase (East).
Lenses were trained on warplanes rarely seen in Singapore skies such as the Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon, which was supported for her Far East deployment by a VC-10K tanker. The Typhoon's appearance at Bersama Lima is significant as it is the type's first appearance in the Far East since Typhoons were engaged in combat operations over Libya. Experience gained from operations over Libya are likely to have fuelled many war story sessions in aircrew messes in Malaysia and Singapore.
The visit to CAB was ruined by an incoming thundercloud that imposed a lightning risk of Cat 1 on the airbase. As such, we had just 10 minutes at the Transport Apron to literally shoot-and-scoot and there was no chance to loiter. :-(
It was ironic that the secondary effort ended up contributing the motherload of images (some of which you see here) when the point of main effort inside the base was scuppered. Well, no plan survives first contact with the enemy.