29 Januari 2016
An RSAF F-15SG fighter performing an air-to-ground strike at the Pulau Pawai live-firing range as part of the 'Hotshot Challenge' 2016 competition. (photo : Jane's)
In a bid to improve the integrated air-to-ground strike capabilities of its platforms and airmen, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has for the first time included an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) component in the biennial 'Hotshot Challenge' air-to-surface competition.
The competition, which involves four RSAF squadrons comprising a total of 15 F-16 and four F-15SG fighter aircraft, is being held from 25 January to 3 February at the Tengah Air Base and Pulau Pawai live-firing range in Singapore.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force's live-firing range on Pulau Pawai, Singapore. (photo : Jane's)
IHS Jane's was on site at the Pulai Pawai range on 27 January to witness the air-to-ground strike component of the competition, where participating aircraft were tested on their ability to perform air-to-ground strafing and deploy unguided munitions at designated targets on the ground from 10°, 30°, and 45° angles.
"In this Hotshot series there are actually two elements that we have introduced. The first one is the integrated combat turn-around for the logistics side," said Colonel Linus Tan, commander of the RSAF's Fighter Group, in response to questions from the media.
An F-16 fighter dropping a practice bomb during the RSAF Hotshot Challenge on Pulau Pawai (photo : StraitsTimes)
He added that logistics support is a very crucial aspect of the RSAF's combat operations. Participants in the logistics part of the competition are judged on how fast they perform tasks such as loading ammunition and refuelling participating fighters.
"The other aspect of what we have introduced is that we have expanded the UAV collaboration with the fighters," said Col Tan. Although he did not specifically name the type of UAV being deployed in the competition this year, Col Tan made reference to the RSAF's deployment of its IAI Heron 1 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAVs at the 'Forging Sabre' exercise in Arizona in the United States in December 2015.