You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Singapore considers Ohakea for squadron

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/02/2017

Singapore is considering using Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea in Manawatu as a home for a squadron of its F15 fighter jets.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Singapore government has a feasibility study under way.

"I can confirm early discussions have taken place between New Zealand and Singapore about Ohakea being used as a potential training base for Singapore pilots," he said on Saturday.

New Zealand would welcome Singapore's investment in the base as a training facility.

"Singapore is one of New Zealand's closest friends, and we have a very long and proud defence relationship with Singapore," Mr Brownlee says.

In January, 500 Singaporean soldiers were at Waiouru Army Base in the central North Island for an annual training exercise.

They come to New Zealand where there is more space to carry out military exercises.

"Singapore has made it clear to us that should they choose to invest in Ohakea they would make a significant contribution to ensuring the local community feels appropriately engaged, as they have done in other parts of the world where they undertake training, including Australia and the United States," Mr Brownlee says.

As many as 500 people would be stationed in or near Ohakea if the plan to base a squadron of F15 fighter jets there went ahead, the Weekend Herald reported.

The Singapore Air Force has other overseas bases, in France, the United States and at Western Australia's Pearce Air Base where a squadron is based.

Chief of Defence Force of the Singapore Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Perry Lim, visited New Zealand for four days earlier this month hosted by the NZDF.

Tens of thousands of people are at Ohakea this weekend for an air force tattoo to mark the 80th anniversary of the RNZAF.

Mr Brownlee will be there on Sunday.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon