Tengah Air Base (IATA: TGA, ICAO: WSAT) is the most important airfield of the Republic of Singapore Air Force. It is home to all of RSAF's E-2C Hawkeyes (soon to be replace by the Gulfstream/IAI G550 CAEW), most of the F-16 Fighting Falcons and a large number of UAVs. The air base goes by the motto of "Always Vigilant", which is supported by its main motif, a chess board Black Knight piece symbolic of the aircraft’s operational readiness in Tengah. The sword represents war’s heraldic sword of destruction, while the state is depicted by the castle.
Prior to Singapore's independence, it was an Royal Air Force station known as RAF Tengah.
RAF Tengah was commissioned in 1939. Tengah airfield was the target of Carpet bombing when seventeen Japanese navy bombers conducted the First air raid on Singapore, shortly after the Battle of Malaya began. It was also the first airfield to be captured when Japanese forces invaded Singapore.
After the Japanese capture of Singapore, Tengah came under the control of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force while the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service took over the other two RAF stations of RAF Sembawang and RAF Seletar as Singapore was split into north-south sphere of control. This effectively ensured that the Japanese Army took control of the south, including the administrative hub and population center of Singapore City, while the Japanese Navy took command of the north, which included the Royal Navy dockyard at Sembawang.
During the Malayan Emergency, Tengah was used to house Avro Lincolns of the Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force which performed bombing missions on communist guerrillas. In 1954, the Royal Air Force was re-equipped with De Havilland Venom FB.4's and De Havilland Vampire T.11's of No. 60 Squadron RAF and was joined by No. 14 Squadron RNZAF of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. In 1958 they were joined by No. 45 Squadron RAF and No. 75 Squadron RNZAF, with English Electric Canberra B.2. While the RAAF retained their Lincolns with No. 1 Squadron RAAF until the end of the emergency.
During the period of Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, the RAF deployed No. 74 Squadron RAF with its English Electric Lightning F.6 followed by No. 20 Squadron RAF with its Hawker Hunter fighter aircraft in addition to the Gloster Javelins of 60 Squadron and No. 64 Squadron RAF, to the air base to help bolster the air defense of Singapore and Peninsula Malaysia against air incursions from P-51 Mustangs and MiG-21s of the Indonesian Air Force.
On September 3, 1964, an Indonesian Air Force C-130 Hercules crashed into the Straits of Malacca while trying to evade interception by a Javelin FAW.9 of 60 Squadron. On 30 April 1968, the Gloster Javelins of 60 Squadron flew their last RAF operational sorties from Tengah and the squadron was disbanded the same day.
As a show of force to deter Indonesia during this period, the RAF also deployed a medium bomber force detachment to Tengah in the form of Handley Page Victor B.1A bombers from No. 15 Squadron RAF in August 1963, which was rotated with those dispersed to RAAF Butterworth in Malaysia. The detachment of Victor bombers was replaced in October 1964 by a detachment of Avro Vulcan B.1A bombers from No. 12 Squadron RAF, these were subsequently pull back to RAF Akrotiri in December that same year for reasons unknown. In August 1965, No. 9 Squadron RAF resumed RAF's Vulcan bomber detachment to Tengah, followed by No. 35 Squadron RAF in December 1965, these were in turn replaced by 9 Squadron again in February 1966. After June 1966, 9 Squadron returned to Akrotiri following the end of the confrontation.
The RAF station closed at the end of March 1971 and Tengah was handed over to the Singapore Air Defence Command (later the Republic of Singapore Air Force) by 1973, after the British pullout. Despite this, the base continue to host British and Commonwealth air forces/troops under the auspices of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) until 1976.
Tengah Air Base
It was renamed Tengah Air Base (TAB) in 1971 when it was handed over to the Singapore Air Defence Command (SADC). Currently, the air base houses aircraft such as the Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeyes and the Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcons. Tengah's reserve storage includes some 60 units of A-4SU Super Skyhawks that are capable of laser-guided bombings and air defence as these were retired in 2005 from active combat squadrons.
The Flying squadrons are:
The Support Squadrons are:
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