The proposal of a long-term fighter training detachment in Ohakea, New Zealand, for its F-15 fighter jets will not proceed, stated the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) in response to media queries on Tuesday (8 January).
In the statement, the ministry stressed that Singapore and New Zealand are close defence partners, and share a long history of operational and training cooperation.
“Singapore and New Zealand will continue to look for new opportunities to cooperate on defence and security activities,” the ministry stressed.
From 30 August to 25 September 2017, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) hosted a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) flying training exercise, as announced by the New Zealand Defence Minister Mark Mitchell on 2 August that year.
The training exercise were held at New Zealand’s Ohakea Air Force base, the country’s third largest airfield.
Mr Mitchell stated that the deployment included six F-16D+ fighter jets, about 110 personnel and associated support equipment.
Ho noted that the contingent will be based in Ohakea. However, the training missions were held throughout New Zealand, including day and night flying, using the country’s air weapons ranges and conducting other training at both high and low altitude.
The minister said in a media release, “Singapore is one of our closest defence partners. All three Services of the New Zealand Defence Force regularly train and exercise with their Singaporean counterparts, and it will be a pleasure to welcome this group to New Zealand.”
“Our two countries have an active agreement to explore opportunities for further military co-operation and training and this exercise aligns perfectly with that,” he added.
In March last year, MINDEF said that New Zealand continued to evaluate the proposal, in an update following the second annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Auckland.
Singapore and New Zealand have collaborated on overseas peace-support missions, including in Afghanistan, Timor Leste, and in Iraq as part of the Defeat-ISIS coalition.