The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has deployed a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Fokker-50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (F-50 MPA) to support the international counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden. Chief of Air Force Major-General Ng Chee Meng officiated at the send-off ceremony for the 38-man F-50 MPA detachment at Changi Air Base this morning.
This is the first time that the SAF has deployed an F-50 MPA to support the international counter-piracy efforts. During its three-month deployment, the F-50 MPA detachment will be based in Djibouti and operate under the ambit of multinational Combined Task Force (CTF) 151.
The F-50 MPA will conduct maritime air surveillance to provide CTF 151 with an enhanced sea situation picture of the Gulf of Aden, as well as perform coordinated search operations to locate and investigate suspicious vessels. The detachment comprises air, ground and communications support crew, as well as logistics personnel.
Since April 2009, the SAF has deployed two SAF task groups to the Gulf of Aden, each comprising a Landing Ship Tank and two Super Puma helicopters. The SAF was also in command of CTF 151 from Jan to Apr 2010. CTF 151 is currently led by Rear-Admiral (RADM) Harris Chan from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), who is supported by an SAF command team.