President Tony Tan opens RSAF Ground Training Centre in French Air Base

3:19:00 PM
CAZAUX, -- President Tony Tan Keng Yam visited the Republic of Singapore Air Force's 150 Squadron at Cazaux Air Base on Thursday morning (May 21) as part of his week-long state visit in France.

He was hosted by the Chief of Air Force Major-General Hoo Cher Mou, and met the Commanding Officer of the Squadron Lieutenant Colonel Kelvin Wan.

The squadron is a detachment for fighter air crew training and has been at the air base since 1998. The base is currently home to about 275 Singaporeans including 60 RSAF personnel and their family members.

President Tan also officially opened the Ground Training Centre which now houses mission planning facilities and simulators in the same building. The squadron has also been training aircrew with state-of-the-art M346 aircraft in recent years, and the RSAF says the combination of the integrated training centre and the use of such aircraft for training will provide for more seamless transition into flying the RSAF's F-15s and F-16s.

Said LT-COL Kelvin Wan, Commanding Officer for the RSAF Squadron at Cazaux Air Base: "Now before a pilot goes out to fly on an actual mission in an actual aircraft, he can plan the mission in the mission planning and debriefing system, take that mission, put it in a hard disk and bring it to the simulator, have the whole mission simulated in the simulator, and then take the same hard disk, go out there and in the aircraft and fly an actual mission. So he's better prepared to execute that mission and he will do a lot better. "

Prior to that, training was "a lot more piecemeal", he said. "Now that we have the technology to enable all the systems to be integrated, we have enhance realism and produce better-trained pilots."

"This air base and the training centre here is extremely important to the Republic of Singapore Air Force," said Dr Tan. "We are very grateful to the French Air Force and to France for hosting this air training centre here. It fulfils a vital need for us to train our pilots. I was very impressed with what I've seen with the simulators as well as all the arrangements there. I think we are well on our way with continuing our progress. We started in a very modest way initially with only two Cessna trainers and now we have a whole fleet of aircraft."

The Republic of Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam, accompanied by Mrs Mary Tan and Chief of Air Force Major-General Hoo Cher Mou, viewing the M-346 Full Mission Simulator.

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