Just after midday local time on 8 May 2024, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) announced that one of its F-16 fighter jets crashed at Tengah Air Base, located in the west of the small island nation.

According to the pilot, he “encountered flight control issues upon lifting off the runway at Tengah Air Base for a routine training flight,” after which he responded in accordance with emergency procedures. The serviceman is said to be an experienced pilot with more than 2,000 flying hours on F-16 aircraft.

“The pilot successfully ejected and the plane crashed thereafter… The pilot is conscious and able to walk. He is receiving medical attention and no other personnel are hurt,” the service stated.

GlobalData intelligence suggests that the RSAF operated 20 F-16Cs and 40 F-16Ds. The whole fleet was procured from as early as 1998, nearly 30 years ago.

However, the Singaporean Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) confirmed to Airforce Technology that the F-16 that crashed was a C variant.

“As a safety precaution, the RSAF has temporarily suspended training for the F-16 aircraft fleet until investigations show that it is safe to resume,” MINDEF added.

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Singapore’s F-16 fleet prior to the crash

In November 2023, the original equipment manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, was tasked with global sustainment of the platform. The RSAF was among those nation’s fleets due to receive initial spares in support of aircraft purchases and major fleet upgrades.

More recently, on 5 March 2024, US Air Force (USAF) F-35A Lightning IIs participated in bilateral training with the RSAF at Paya Lebar Air Base, in the eastern region of the country. The F-35s left from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, and RSAF F-15SGs and F-16C/Ds conducted various training scenarios to enhance trust and increase interoperability between the forces.

The training provided an opportunity to practice integrating the two air forces in order to enhance lethality, capabilities and competitiveness. While the components of the training are not new, participants added an element to make it original.

In May 2004, the RSAF lost an F-16C previously amid a joint exercise alongside the USAF during a night training mission in Arizona.

Going forward the service also announced that it “is responding to the situation and detailed investigations have commenced.

“Investigations are ongoing. The Ministry of Defence and the RSAF will provide updates on the incident as soon as they become available.”

This article has been updated to reflect Singapore MINDEF responses.