The US Ebbing Air National Guard Base (ANGB) at Fort Smith in Arkansas, US, has been selected as the preferred location to host the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) F-35B fighter training detachment.

Fort Smith will also host the RSAF’s F-16 fighter aircraft, which are currently based at Peace Carvin II detachment in Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, US.

To assess the suitability of the airbase, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) will be conducted before finalising the basing decision.

Selfridge ANGB at Harrison Township in Michigan, US, has been chosen as an alternate location.

The two airbases were shortlisted by the US Department of Defense (DoD) after discussions with the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).

It comes after several US ally and partner nations showed interest in conducting F-35 fighter training at a US-based F-35 training facility.

MINDEF stated in a press statement: “The co-location of the RSAF F-16s and F-35Bs will also maximise opportunities for integrated training.

“The RSAF also looks forward to enhanced joint training and exchanges with the USAF’s and US Marine Corps’ F-35s.

“Such overseas training is important for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to overcome local airspace constraints and to conduct high-end realistic training.

MINDEF and the DoD interact regularly through military-to-military training and defence technology cooperation.

Last month, RSAF deployed airmen, F-16 Fighting Falcons, a G550 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft and F-15SG fighter jets to Andersen Air Force Base (AFB) in the US territory of Guam. This fighter training detachment was deployed on 24 May.