The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is conducting Exercise Forging Sabre 2017 (XFS 17) in Phoenix, Arizona from 28 November to 13 December (Singapore time). XFS 17 is an integrated strike exercise that involves about 750 personnel from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the Singapore Army, as well as assets such as the F-15SG and F-16C/D multi-role fighter aircraft, AH-64D Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). This is the sixth instalment in the series that began in 2005.
XFS 17 sees an increased level of integration between sense and strike assets from the RSAF and the Singapore Army to conduct complex and dynamic live-firing missions. As part of the exercise, fighter aircraft carrying Laser-Guided Bombs (LGBs) accurately destroyed multiple enemy moving targets cued by STrike ObserveRs Mission (STORM) teams in a single pass. The Heron 1 UAV constantly monitored the battlefield and provided information such as the location of mobile enemy forces to the HIMARS enabling it to fire at multiple targets simultaneously. XFS 17 also featured the use of advanced munitions, such as the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), Laser JDAMs, LGBs, Hellfire missiles and M31 Unitary rockets, to deliver precise and calibrated firepower on static and moving targets in day and night mission scenarios.
The Exercise Director for XFS 17, Brigadier-General Tommy Tan, shared on the significance of the integrated strike exercise. He said, "This exercise provides an excellent opportunity for the SAF to validate its integrated strike capabilities through the conduct of dynamic strike missions. These missions involve picking up 'pop-up' targets that may be moving, tracking them continuously and making dynamic adjustments to ongoing strike plans to destroy the targets. The exercise scenarios also include destroying multiple targets in various locations simultaneously. At XFS 17, these missions are carried out in a realistic and challenging environment which strengthens our operational capabilities.”
Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Perry Lim and Chief of Air Force Major-General (MG) Mervyn Tan visited XFS 17 earlier and interacted with exercise participants after witnessing an integrated strike mission. MG Tan noted, "What we have accomplished in this exercise is testament to the professionalism and commitment of our servicemen and women, from both the Air Force and the Army. With limited air and land space in Singapore, we need overseas exercises like this for our airmen and soldiers to hone their skills and maintain a high level of operational readiness. I am grateful to our United States (US) partners for providing us with this important opportunity. The success of Exercise Forging Sabre gives us a lot of confidence that the SAF is ready to defend Singapore."
Overseas training and detachments, such as the RSAF's training in the US, allow the SAF to overcome Singapore's land and airspace constraints, and build-up its operational capabilities and readiness. Apart from supporting the conduct of training exercises such as XFS 17, the US also supports the RSAF's F-15SG and F-16C/D fighter aircraft, and AH-64D Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopter training detachments, as well as the Singapore Army's HIMARS training. These training opportunities enable the SAF to further build-up its operational capabilities and readiness, and are testament to the excellent and long-standing defence ties between Singapore and the US.