Republic of Singapore Air Force Skyhawks

Republic of Singapore Air Force

Point of Contact - Squadron Duty Officer (SDO)

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Douglas Poster courtesy of Gary Verver

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) purchased 47 refurbished Skyhawks (40 A-4B and 7 A-4s for two seat conversion) from United States of America. The aircraft were re-designated A-4S for single seat and TA-4S for those single seat aircraft converted to two seat trainers. The "T" version of the RSAF Skyhawk was unique in that, rather than the single "clam shell" canopy common to other TA-4 models, each TA-4S cockpit had a separate canopy.

1984 to 1989:
The RSAF conducted a Skyhawk service life extension program. The 8,400-lb-thrust J65 engines were replaced with 11,000 lb. thrust F404-GE-100D turbofans. Other upgrades included modified engine air intakes; new structural mounts to accommodate the F404 engines; installation of new refrigeration, hydraulic pumps, air turbine starters, and oil coolers; new sensors, cockpit instrumentation, and state-of-the-art avionics; engine and environmental control systems; higher output electrical generators; and improved air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance carrying and control capability.
In 1986 a upgrade program for the A4S-1/TA4S-1 fleet was initiated by the RSAF. This included a new engine, a non-afterburning General Electric F404-GE-100D turbofan. Engine inlet changes were made to accomodate the new engine. Other improvements were and turbine starter, improved hydraulics, improvided air and oil cooling. , Singapore gave the new model the designation A4S-1/F404, but it was sometimes referred to as the "A-4U". Later the aircraft's avionics package was upgraded, which included a Ferranti 4510 HUD, and a laser seeker.

19 SEP 1986: First flight of the improved model A-4SU was made by aircraft 919.

1988: A-4SU "Super Skyhawks" become operational.

1988: Re-designated as the A-4SU "Super Skyhawk," the refurbished Skyhawks became operational in 1988, and Skyhawk pilot training was fully operational in March 1989. With the total RSAF inventory of about 60 aircraft, the three Singapore Skyhawk units (142, 143, and 145 Squadrons), operating from Tengah Air Base, made up a numerical majority of that country's military aircraft.

1990s: An RSAF aircraft demonstration team, the Black Knights, performs with six A-4SU Super Skyhawks until the year 2000. 

1997: The RSAF Skyhawk training unit (143 squadron) was disbanded as part of a new advanced jet training effort. The former 143 Squadron A-4SUs were shipped to southwest France in September 1998 where, at Cazaux Air Base, 150 Squadron was established for advance training of RSAF pilots. The French site was selected because of available practice bombing ranges and airspace over the North Atlantic for ACM training, as well as opportunity for electronic warfare technique practice.

31 MAR 2005: RSAF "offically" retires the A-4SU Skyhawk from its front-line squadrons. The last RSAF Skyhawk Squadron, the 142 Squadron, was dis-established on 01 APR 2005.

12 APR 2005: The SAF Advanced Jet Training Detachment (150 Squadron), currently operating from Cazaux, France, is scheduled for dis-establishment in Y2007.

21 JAN 2010: BuNo 147797 150 Squadron 928 being restored in France.
"According to a mechanics who helped us to reassemble the plane, it took part in the Black Hawks RSAF display team and was withdrawn from use in 2004."
"For now, the cockpit is empty, guns and refuelling probe removed, we hope to recover some parts in the future when the last specimen will be definitely retired."
Pierre Pécastaingts
Webmaster Conservatoire de l'Air et de l'Espace d'Aquitaine
Webmaster Fédération Française des Ailes Anciennes
I'm in contact with the French liaison officer of RSAF 150th Sqn, I hope to receive information about plane history in RSAF. According to a mechanics who helped us to reassemble the plane, it took part in the Black Hawks RSAF display team and was withdrawn from use in 2004.

About the travel from Singapore to France of SAF Advanced Jet Training Detachment (150 Squadron) the I found on a RSAF document : "The aircraft were first prepared and wrapped in Tengah Air Base. Under the supervision of a team of safety officers and specialists, they were then towed down the streets of Singapore to Jurong Port. From there, the aircraft were moved onto a ship, and together with a maintenance crew, they embarked on an arduous 23-day sea journey to France.
Upon arriving at Cazaux Air Base, the aircraft were unwrapped, and they took to the skies of France without a hitch. Just when you thought everyone in the squadron could heave a sigh of relief and celebrate, more challenging tasks lay ahead." According to witnesses at Bordeaux port , the aircraft were disassembled and transferred from the ship to trailers and finished the 80 km trip to Cazaux by road.
Pierre Pécastaingts

RSAF KNOWN BuNo information. (updated 16dec2011) AND our Research Page.

  • A-4B / A-4S
  • 142850: 31DEC70 A-4S 600
  • 142832: 22MAY70 A-4S 601
  • 142771: 31DEC70 A-4S 602
  • 142908: 22MAY70 A-4S 603
  • 142131: 31DEC70 A-4S 604
  • 144874: 22MAY70 A-4S 605
  • 144980: 31DEC70 A-4S 606
  • 145013: 31DEC70 A-4S 607
  • 142778: 22MAY70 A-4S 606
  • 142101: 20MAY70 A-4S 616
  • 142119: 22MAY70 A-4S 617/618
  • 142125: 22MAY70 A-4S 619/620
  • 142711: 31DEC70 A-4S 621
  • 142744: 22MAY70 A-4S 630
  • 142746: 31DEC70 A-4S 631
  • 142751: 31DEC70 A-4S 632
  • 142770: 22MAY70 A-4S 633
  • 142800: 31DEC70 A-4S 634
  • 142819: 25MAY71 A-4S 636
  • 142840: 22MAY70 A-4S 643
  • 142865: 31DEC70 A-4S 644
  • 142870: 31DEC70 A-4S 645
  • 142876: 31DEC70 A-4S 646
  • 142882: 22MAY70 A-4SU 647
  • 142900: 31DEC70 A-4SU 648/649
  • 142942: 22MAY70 A-4S 650
  • 144926: 31DEC70 A-4S 656
  • 144956: 31DEC70 A-4S 657
  • 144971: 22MAY70 A-4S 659
  • 144974: 22MAY70 A-4S 660
  • 145030: 09JAN70 A-4S 679
  • 145038: 31DEC70 A-4S 680
  • 145046: 31DEC70 A-4S 681
  • 145056: 22MAY70 A-4S 682
  • 145059: 31DEC70 A-4S 683
  • 142111: 22MAY70 A-4S
  • 142122: 31DEC70 A-4S
  • 142140: 31DEC70 A-4S
  • 142713: 31DEC70 A-4S
  • 142768: 22MAY70 A-4S
  • 142798: 22MAY70 A-4S 606/605
  • 142860: 31DEC70 A-4S
  • 142891: 31DEC70 A-4S
  • A-4C / A-4SU
  • 149617: 29MAY78 A-4SU
  • 149587: 29JUN76 A-4SU 915
  • 148605: 29MAY78 A-4SU 917
  • 147835: 29JUN76 A-4SU 919
  • 148528: 29JUN76 A-4SU 924
  • 148458: 29JUN76 A-4SU 926
  • 147779: 29JUN76 A-4SU 927
  • 147797: 29MAY78 A-4SU 928
  • 145073: 15MAY73 A-4SU 929
  • 149522: 19AUG77 A-4SU 936
  • 147823: 19AUG77 A-4SU 938
  • 145063: 20JUN75 A-4SU 939
  • 145071: 15MAY73 A-4SU 941
  • 148462: 29MAY78 A-4SU 942
  • 145106: 15MAY73 A-4SU 944
  • 145110: 19AUG77 A-4SU 945
  • 148591: 19AUG77 A-4SU 955
  • 147809: 19AUG77 A-4SU 957
  • 149588: 29MAY78 A-4SU 958
  • 147785: 19AUG77 A-4SU 960
  • 148482: 29MAY78 A-4SU 967
  • 149628: 29MAY78 A-4SU 969
  • 149537: 29MAY78 A-4SU 970
  • 147743: 29JUL73 A-4SU 971
  • 148464: 29JUN76 A-4SU 972
  • 149493: 29MAY78 A-4SU 975
  • 147752: 29JUN76 A-4SU 977
  • 147731: 29JUN76 A-4SU 980
  • 145108: 29JUN76 A-4SU 983
  • 147841: 29MAY78 A-4SU 984
  • 147821: 29JUN76 A-4SU 986
  • 149498: 29MAY78 A-4SU 991
  • 148521: 29JUN76 A-4SU 992
  • 148526: 29MAY78 A-4SU 993
  • 148603: 03JUL76 A-4SU 994
  • A-4B / TA-4S
  • 145047: 31DEC70 TA-4S 651
  • 144937: 22MAY70 TA-4S 652
  • 145043: 22MAY70 TA-4S 653
  • 144894: 22MAY70 TA-4S 687
  • 144979: 25MAY71 TA-4S 690

  • A-4B / TA-4SU
  • 145041: 22MAY70 TA-4SU 907
  • 142881: 22MAY70 TA-4SU 908
  • 145021: 22MAY70 TA-4SU 909
  • 142814: 22MAY70 TA-4SU 911
  • 144966: 22MAY70 TA-4SU 912
  • 142936: 22MAY70 TA-4SU 932
  • 144977: 22MAY70 TA-4SU 933
  • 145033: 22MAY70 TA-4SU 950
  • 142768: 22MAY70 TA-4SU 951

  • A-4C / TA-4SU
  • 147742: 29MAY78 TA-4SU 900
  • 148311: 19AUG77 TA-4SU 901
  • 148483: 29MAY78 TA-4SU 902
  • 148493: 29MAY78 TA-4SU 903
  • 148525: 19AUG77 TA-4SU 904
  • 148529: 29JUN76 TA-4SU 905
  • 144916: 22MAY70 TA-4SU 906

Known Singapore Losses. (updated 16dec2011)

  • 24APR75:
    A-4S; Lta. Chong Khal Hoong, ejected safely at low level before his Skyhawk jet plunged into the Chanji Creek soon after take-off from the Chanel airbase.

  • 05JAN76:
    A-4S; LT Cheong Kahl Loong pilot of a Singapore A-4S Skyhawk on a training flight was missing after his A-4S crashed into the South China Sea northeast of Singapore Monday,
    Pacific Stars & Stripes, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 1976

  • 31AUG76:
    A-4; Unidentified pilot was believed killed after his Singapore Air Force Skyhawk crashed into the sea about 10 miles south of Singapore today. The ministry said the plane was on a training flight. It was the second aircraft of the Singapore Air Force to crash this month.
    The Herald, Provo. UT, Tuesday, August 31. 1976.

  • 04FEB78:
    Unidentified pilot and copilot ejected safely before their Singapore Air Force Skyhawk trainer aircraft crashed in a poultry farm destroying a farmhouse and 8,000 chickens, police said.
    Pacific Stars and Stripes, Saturday, February 4, 1978.

  • 19DEC79:
    TA-4S /A-4 / A-4; Four Singaporean pilots aboard three Skyhawk aircraft were killed after they crashed on Mount Demahonte in Aurora Province 95 miles NE of Manila.The three Skyhawks were part of a squadron of Singapore Air Force planes engaged in training in the Philippines with the help of the U.S. Air Force at Clark ABand were on their way from Clark to the Crow Valley Bombing Range near the base.
    Pacific Stars and Stripes, Saturday, December 22, 1979 and
    Pacific Stars and Stripes, Friday, January 4, 1980.

  • 07AUG82: A-4S:
    Lt. Jaspal Singh 23, ejected safely when his engine failed during gunnery practice near Newcastle, in New South Wales.

  • 30MAR83: A-4SU:
    Lt. Foo Siew Ngan ejected successfully after a midair collision with 75 Sqn RAAF Mirage III-OA A3-69 that was on final for Rwy 36 and crashed 1 nm south of Tengah Airfield, Singapore. The RAAF Mirage was approaching Tengah Air Base in a straight descending path after being cleared by Tengah’s air traffic control when it collided with the RSAF Skyhawk about 100 metres above ground.
    Jim Winchester and
    Pacific Stars and Stripes, Friday, April 1, 1983.

  • 17JUN83: A-4:
    Unidentified pilot of a Singapore RSAF Skyhawk ejected safely before his Skyhawk crashed Wednesday morning during defense maneuvers and smashed into a beach close to the causeway connecting Singapore and Malaysia, missing heavy populated areas nearby.
    Pacific Stars and Stripes, Friday, June 17, 1983.

  • 25 July 1985:
    1.Pilot makes a safe escape from his Skyhawk
    CAPT Cheorg Seng Chee, 31, of the Republic of Singapore Air Force ejected safely from his A4 Skyhawk after an incident while on a routine training flight over the Straits of Malacca.
    A Defence Ministry statement said the incident yesterday afternoon occurred about 35 nautical miles off Singapore.
    Just before the incident, the rescue coordinating centre at Changi received a MayDay call and a search and rescue mission was activated immediately.
    Capt Cheong was picked up by a RSAF rescue helicopter within 30 minutes and was sent to Tengah Medical Centre for examination.
    The Mindef statement said he was safe and well.
    It added that a board of inquiry had been convened to investigate the incident.
    The Straits Times, 25 July 1985, Page 13
  • 26AUG85:
    A-4S; Capt. Francis Tan,(Tan Jul Song) ejected safely when his A-4 Skyhawk crashed in in the Caraballo mountains about 70 miles NE of Clark AB in Central Luzon in the Philippines. Capt. Tan was rescued by a USAF helicopter operating from Clark Air Base.
    The Galveston Daily News, Wednesday, August 28, 1985.

  • 26 AUG85: A-4S:
    Capt. Francis Tan, ejected safely when his A-4 Skyhawk crashed in in the Caraballo mountains about 70 miles NE of Clark AB in Central Luzon in the Philippines. Capt. Tan was rescued by a USAF helicopter operating from Clark Air Base.
    The Galveston Daily News, Wednesday, August 28, 1985.

  • 22OCT85:
    A-4S; Lt. Leow Yong Yean, 22, ejected safely and was picked up by a boat when his A-4 Skyhawk crashed into the sea south of Tengah Airbase.

  • 03MAR86:
    TA-4S; Capt. Tai Way Ming, 29, and his student pilot, Lt. Goh Char Li, 22, both ejected safely when their A4 Skyhawk crashed into the sea SW of Tengah Air Base during a routine exercise.

  • 01NOV89:
    A-4S; 142 Sqdrn - Pilot ejected safely when his Skyhawk crashed north of Manilla, Phillipines, while on a training mission out of Clark AFB.


Recent Sightings:

09 JUL 2011: Singapore A-4SU Skyhawk BuNo 149493, 975 and 75 Sqn A-4K Skyhawk BuNo 154904, NZ6212, Paya Leba, Singapore, open day, 09 July 2001.


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