The 7000 mile trip from No 6 Squadron’s base at RAF Leuchars in Fife to the RMAF Base Butterworth took the pilots four days with stops in Jordan, Oman and Sri Lanka, supported throughout by engineers and ground crews as well as a VC-10 aircraft of 101 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton.
UK Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond arrived in Singapore yesterday morning for the anniversary and met with his defence counterparts from Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia before laying a wreath at the Kranji Memorial Cross alongside Vice Admiral George Zambellas. Mr Hammond then flew to Malaysia where he visited RMAF Butterworth and emphasised the importance of the partnership for security in the region.
Mr. Hammond said:
“I am delighted that we were able to deploy Typhoon for the duration of this FPDA exercise. It underscores the UK’s continued commitment to the FPDA and to our defence engagement in South East Asia.
“Typhoon has proven itself on operations over Libya in both Air to Air and Ground attack roles and its versatility, endurance and reliability will provide a valuable contribution to the exercise.”
Established in 1971, the FPDA is a commitment undertaken by the five nations (UK, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia) to consult in the event of an attack on Singapore or Malaysia. It is the only multilateral defence agreement in South East Asia with an operational element. The joint exercise will see the participation of around 4000 troops, 68 aircraft, 18 ships, two submarines and various support elements from the FPDA member nations.
Mr. Hammond said:
“The recent performance of Typhoon in its first multi-role contribution to operations has been outstanding and its deployment is especially meaningful given the FPDA’s fortieth anniversary.
“Following my discussions with the other FPDA members, we have agreed to improve co-operation against non-conventional threats, notably in the areas of maritime security, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.
“The FPDA has an enduring value in ensuring security in the region and it is reassuring to see the same level of commitment from our partners. Singapore and Malaysia have been pivotal members of this pact and I am honoured to be in the region to mark this historic milestone.”
Participating in the FPDA exercise will provide Typhoon personnel with valuable expeditionary training in a tropical environment as well as operating in complex packages with multi-national participants.
Number 6 Squadron will continue to maintain its primary Quick Reaction Alert mission at RAF Leuchars during this deployment.