Monday, April 13, 2020

Circuit breaker Day 7 pix: Republic of Singapore Air Force RSAF Boeing F-15SG Roll-out ceremony

In November 2008, I saw the Boeing F-15SG Strike Eagle, the newest Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fighter jet, for the first time at the Boeing plant in St Louis, Missouri. The above picture was the first one I took with the F-15SG, which carried the United States Air Force serial number AF05-0001.[A note on the SG flag: This same flag followed me on assignments to cover four Singapore Armed Forces overseas operations. These were the earthquake relief mission in Taiwan, East Timor, Northern Arabian Gulf and the tsunami relief mission. So it's quite special to me and I brought it along for the F-15SG roll-out ceremony.]

The trip to St Louis came some 10 years after I first began writing about the RSAF's search for a A-4 Skyhawk replacement under its Next Fighter Replacement Programme (NFRP). The evaluation began with six candidates. These were the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle, Boeing F/A-18E/F, Dassault Aviation Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon (marketed by BAE Systems), Lockheed Martin F-16 and the Sukhoi Su-30. The list was whittled down to the F-15, Rafale and Typhoon, with the F-15 and Rafale down selected for the final phase.

In December 2005, the Singapore Ministry of Defence announced that it had signed a contract with Boeing to buy 12 F-15SGs with an option for eight more. Singapore eventually grew its F-15SG force to 40 planes.

On 3 November 2008, Boeing staged the roll-out ceremony for the first article, AF05-0001. Here're  some pictures from that event, graced by then RSAF Chief of Air Force, Major-General Ng Chee Khern.

 A special cake to celebrate the event.

 First group photo with the AF05-0001.

Souvenirs from the roll-out ceremony. I was given one Lion Head folder with the press release and speeches. But there was a stack leftover after the ceremony which they would have binned/recycled anyway, so I asked for a few more.

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