Location Approved By the US for F-16 and F-35 Training for Singapore
Singapore and U.S. governments have decided to host the fighter jet training detachments of the Southeast Asian nation’s future F-16 and F-35 Training at Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Singapore’s fleet of 12 F-16s is expected to begin arriving in 2023, and in 2026, its first of F-35Bs will be delivered, said the Arkansas National Guard’s Public Affairs Office.
Currently, the F-16s are flown by the Republic of Singapore Air Force through the Luke Air Force Base, located near Phoenix, Arizona. Various F-16 models have been used by its personnel continuously since the late 1980s with the 425th fighter Squadron, making a joint force comprising of personnel from both Air forces. The Squadron is relocating to provide significant space for the Luke Air Force Base under the Peace Carvin II detachment program for F-35 fighter jet training. Another F-16 Squadron of Taiwanese F-16 fighter jets will also be relocated to the nearby Arizona Air National Guard Base for the same reason.
Having an option of getting eight more of the B models of F-35 variants, Singapore got the approval to acquire four short take-off and vertical landing F-35 variants. The deliveries will start from the year 2026. Singapore has decided that it would conduct the training of F-35 variants with the F-16 together at one location. Before making any final decision, the U.S. and Singaporean Air Forces visited three locations in March this year. Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan and Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas were the other bases visited by the officials of both the air forces. An MOU was signed between the US and Singapore for permanent fighter training detachments in the U.S. Guam, the Pacific territory of the U.S. was selected for this purpose, and the training sessions will start in 2029.