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SIAI-Marchetti of Italy delivered the first new SIAI-Marchetti S.211 jet trainers to RSAF. The S.211 was ordered in 1983 by MINDEF. The jet trainer aircraft was to be deployed to two Paya Lebar-based squadrons, 130 and 131 Sqns. The S.211 is for the RSAF’s advanced pilot training to replace the ageing RSAF’s BAC 167 Strikemaster Mk 84 (purchased new in 1969) and Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star (purchased second-hand from France in 1979).
With the introduction of S.211, RSAF changed its training programme. Potential pilots complete a 16 week course in Ground School, followed by another 16 week/60 hours of basic flying training in the SF.260s. Fast Jet pilots then move on to another 8 week course in advanced ground school followed by 40 weeks/120 hours of advanced flying training in the S.211 advanced trainer.
Photo Credit: Flickr.
RSAF took delivery of the first five SIAI-Marchetti S.211 jet trainer in Italy to shipped them to Singapore disassembled. Upon the arrived at Singapore, they were reassembled by a team of RSAF technicians. The new SIAI-Marchetti S.211 was made of tough yet light composite material and was remarkable quiet and very fuel efficient. Followed soon by another 5 in fully knocked down state. All aircraft in this batch were then assembled by Singapore Aircraft Industries (SAI – later to be known as Singapore Technologies Aerospace). An option for 20 more SIAI-Marchetti S.211 was taken up and based in two squadrons (130 and 131 Squadrons) based in Paya Lebar Air Base.
Background: By the early 1980s, the need for a new jet trainer for the RSAF’s advanced pilot training to replace the ageing BAC 167 Strikemasters and Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star had become obvious. A number of different aircraft were evaluated and in December 1983, a US$60 million contract was awarded to SIAI Marchetti of Italy for 10 new S.211 jet trainers. Powered by Pratt and Whitney’s’ economical JT-15D turbofan, Singapore was the first customer for the type. The S.211 was incorporated into 131 Squadron.
Singapore is currently operating a fleet of SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 for its Ab initio Basic Wing Course (BWC) and Air Grading Course (AGC) for its trainee pilots since 1972.