Wednesday, December 11, 2013

USMC F-35B performs for Singaporean Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen

Note: We just completed an interview with DM. Will update the story in due course, hopefully with pictures.

United States Air Force Luke Air Force Base, Phoenix, Arizona: The world's most advanced warplane capable of short take-offs and vertical landings, the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), staged a 16-minute aerial display for Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen and Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) officials, stoking speculation among military watchers that Singapore's position on the JSF is imminent.

The aerial display took place after Dr Ng and Chief of  Air Force of the Republic of Singapore  Air Force (RSAF), Major-General Hoo Cher Mou were introduced to another F-35B on static display at Luke AFB.

The F-35B "06" (168724) that Dr Ng and  MG Hoo saw is flown by United States Marine Corps (USMC) unit VMFA-121. The static JSF was displayed outside the flightline for the USAF 944th Fighter Wing and had its weapons bay closed throughout the visit.

Though the USAF Luke AFB Public Affairs office issued a Facebook updated that announced the F-35Bs would call at the airbase - the world's largest F-16 training base -  security at the event was tight as Singaporean media were not allowed to take pictures of the operational F-35Bs.

A security cordon was also thrown around the static display JSF, with non VIP visitors allowed no closer than 20 feet from the warplane. Dr Ng and CAF were the only ones brought around the aircraft from 10:40am local time.

Dr Ng tried out the F-35B's pilot helmet, which helps the pilot fuse information from various sensors, mounted a ladder to look at the cockpit and briefed on the JSF's nose-mounted sensors and design features of the warplane.

The 16-minute aerial display saw a second F-35B make a low level passes over the airbase at a low airspeed that fighter planes apart from USMC Harrier ground attack planes are not capable of performing.

The finale saw the JSF pilot hover his aircraft almost in front of the Singaporean visitors. It then pivoted slightly to the left and dipped its nose forward before turning again and resuming its flight in the previous direction before landing.


Anonymous said...

Did Dr Ng brought along his cheque book? Can do booking on the spot? Put 10% down payment got early bird discount? X'mas fire sale season? LOL ;-)

Lucky you, Dave.

Anonymous said...

Right, after 1.7 billions for the submarine...and now another billions for the aircraft..and free trip for the Malaysian to write about it..

Anonymous said...

OMG David Bowie is a Malaysian :-0

Anonymous said...

Breaking news !!!

Anonymous said...

Why not get some Sukhois? :P