RSAF scrambles F-16 fighter jets after M'sian helicopter flies over Pulau Tekong

This happened at around 9am on Saturday (Sep. 11).

Joshua Lee | September 11, 2021, 11:22 PM

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The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) scrambled two F-16 fighter jets early in the morning on September 11 after a Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) helicopter flew over Pulau Tekong.

According to aviation news site Alert 5, flight tracking data showed that the helicopter, which bore the tail number 9M-PMD, entered Singapore airspace at 01:22 UTC (9:22am Singapore time).


Pulau Tekong is home to the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC). The island is used exclusively as a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) training base. 

The fighter jets were scrambled from Tengah airbase.

They were later spotted circling Paya Lebar airbase and subsequently departed west at 02:07 UTC (10:07am Singapore time).

Photo of one of the fighter jets taken by an observer on the ground. Credit: @TheBaseLeg/Twitter

Observers speculated that the Malaysian helicopter could have crossed into Singapore airspace accidentally.

PDRM: Not notified by Singapore's airspace regulators

Later in the day, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) released this statement:

"The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) is aware of a message going viral on social media which claimed that a PDRM helicopter entered Singapore’s airspace on Sep. 11, 2021.

PDRM has confirmed that a PDRM helicopter was flying near Singapore’s airspace on Sep. 11 for official duties. Throughout the duration of the flight, PDRM was not notified by Singapore’s airspace regulators that the helicopter had entered Singapore’s airspace."

MINDEF: Aircraft scrambled in response to potential air threat

In response to media queries, a MINDEF spokesperson said that the RSAF scrambled F-16 fighter aircraft at approximately 9:20am in response to a potential air threat:

"After ensuring that our security was not compromised, we stood down our aircraft."

The spokesperson added that the RSAF deploys fighter aircraft to investigate and deal with 350 potential air threats each year, on average.

Top images via and @TheBaseLeg/Twitter

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