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F-15SG, F-35, and JAS39 Gripen Engage in Aerial Encounter over Central Thailand

The encounter between fighter jets F-15SG, F-35, and Gripen from Singapore, the United States, and Thailand is part of Exercise Cope Tiger 2024, taking place at Korat Air Base from March 18 to March 28, 2024.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) – Fighter jets F-15SG, F-35, and JAS39 Gripen from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), United States Air Force (USAF), and Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) are currently engaged in aerial maneuvers over central Thailand.

The encounter between fighter jets from these three countries is part of Exercise Cope Tiger 2024, taking place at Korat Air Base from March 18 to March 28, 2024.

This year’s Exercise Cope Tiger also marks its 30th anniversary.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Defence of Singapore, the Large Employment Air Combat Exercise involves 77 assets and 2,000 personnel from all three nations.

The RSAF has deployed 27 combat aircraft, including H225M helicopters, eight GBAD (Ground Based Air Defence) systems, and 700 personnel participating in the exercise.

Cope Tiger
(Singapore MINDEF)


“The exercise participants will engage in large-scale air defence and strike missions in a challenging environment, allowing them to hone and sharpen their operational competencies.”

“In addition to these training activities, personnel from the three air forces will take part in joint socio-civic programmes to engage local communities and schools in the vicinity of Korat Air Base and Chandy Range,” the statement said.

Colonel Sebastian Chai, Director of RSAF Training, stated that Exercise Cope Tiger 2024 is the premier aerial combat exercise attended by the Republic of Singapore Air Force annually. He emphasized the significance of Exercise Cope Tiger for two reasons.

“First, the large training airspace in Thailand gives us the opportunity to conduct realistic high-end large force employment training to hone our operational competencies, something that we cannot replicate in Singapore,” he said.

“Second, this exercise also provides the opportunity for us to interact and also to learn from our Royal Thai Air Force and US Air Force counterparts and also strengthen the excellent defence relations with our partners,” he said. 

Cope Tiger
(Singapore MINDEF)

Cope TIger

He also noted the special significance of Exercise Cope Tiger 2024 as it celebrates its 30th anniversary since its inception in 1994.

“The fact that we have sustained this exercise for the past 30 years reflects the strong commitment by the three air forces towards this trilateral relationship,”said Sebastian.

The incoming Singapore Air Force Chief, Brigadier-General Kelvin Fan, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Punpakdee Pattanakul and Commander Pacific Air Forces, General Kevin B. Schneider will be officiating the exercise closing ceremony on 29 Mar 2024.

Since its inception in 1994, Exercise Cope Tiger has successfully enhanced the professionalism and defence relations between Singapore, Thailand and the United States, and promoted close rapport and mutual understanding amongst their personnel. — DSA