Friday, February 7, 2020

‘Good friends stick through thick and thin’ - Singapore's defence minister visits Singapore Airshow 2020 flying display teams

This afternoon, Singapore's Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen, visited flying display teams that will take part in the Singapore Airshow 2020, which takes place from next Tuesday till Sunday (11 to 16 Feb 2020).

During his walkabout at Changi, Dr Ng interacted with pilots and ground crew from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), the United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) and the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ba Yi aerobatics team.

Dr Ng had a firsthand look at Ba Yi's Chengdu J-10 fighter jets, and the United States' fifth generation fighter jets such as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and the Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, all of which will perform at the Singapore Airshow for the first time. Dr Ng also visited the RSAF's integrated display team of Boeing F-15SG fighters and Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopters.

Dr Ng told the media that the Ba Yi team from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) underwent "stringent tests" to ensure they met Singapore’s criteria before coming to Singapore to perform.

“We have been very careful, and the PLA had been particularly careful that they observe all requirements that were needed to be healthy and they underwent stringent tests,” said Dr Ng on the sidelines of his visit.

“You’ve got to understand that they, just like the SAF (Singapore Armed Forces), are also concerned about the virus spreading within their own ranks,” he said.

The minister noted that the team’s presence at the airshow, despite its contingency back home, is a testament to “how strong our relationship” is.

“You know this phrase, ‘good friends stick through thick and thin’, and I want to thank both the US as well as the Chinese military for being with us in this airshow,” he said.

Dr Ng thanked all the teams for their support and participation in this Singapore Airshow, and underscored the strong bilateral defence relations Singapore has with both countries. 

He said: "I am very thankful that for this Airshow, apart from the Republic of Singapore Air Force that is performing, that we also have the United States Air Force (USAF) and United States Marine Corps (USMC), as well as the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) here with their wonderful planes performing. It is really a vote of confidence; it is also a measure of how strong our relationship is... 

"The USAF and USMC not only are here now but in fact, what they have brought for this Airshow is more than they have ever done. For the first time in the region, they have both the F-22 as well as the F-35Bs performing... 

"For the PLAAF, the People's Liberation Army Air Force, I had visited China last year and signed the enhanced Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation. At that time, I invited them both, Vice Chairman Xu QiLiang and General Wei Fenghe for the Ba Yi, the famous Ba Yi to perform in the Airshow. And the reason being that, this year is the 30th year of diplomatic ties and we thought that would be a good way to commemorate the 30th anniversary."

You may also like:
PLAAF Ba Yi team makes its Singapore Airshow debut. Click here  

No comments: