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“Singaporean Defence Minister: No Malicious Intent Behind Malaysian Helicopter Entry”

Providing details about the incident in which two Singaporean F-16 fighter aircraft were scrambled to intercept the "intrusion" of the helicopter, Singapore's Defence Minister explained that the helicopter had been contracted to capture images of registered oil platforms in Malaysia. These platforms were being transported from Pasir Gudang in Johor Bahru to Miri in Sarawak.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Singapore’s Defence Minister has stated that a Malaysian civilian helicopter had no “malicious intent” when it entered the Republic’s airspace without permission on August 9th, said Dr. Ng Eng Hen in a written response to a question in parliament yesterday.

Providing details about the incident in which two Singaporean F-16 fighter aircraft were scrambled to intercept the “intrusion” of the helicopter, he explained that the helicopter had been contracted to capture images of registered oil platforms in Malaysia.

These platforms were being transported from Pasir Gudang in Johor Bahru to Miri in Sarawak.

Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Joan Pereira, inquired whether the safety of any aircraft had been compromised during this incident and what measures would be taken to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

The Defence Minister of Singapore stated, “Our assessment is that there was no malicious intent arising from this incident.”

F-16

He went on to explain, “The helicopter departed from Senai International Airport in Johor Bahru and was heading to Pengerang, southeast of Johor.”

“During its flight, the helicopter entered the Changi Control Zone and subsequently entered Singaporean airspace without prior notification. Singapore’s air traffic control center did not receive any flight plan.”

Because the helicopter entered Singaporean airspace at 12:37 PM “unannounced,” two Republic of Singapore Air Force fighter aircraft were scrambled.

This action, as stated by the Defence Minister of Singapore, was “consistent with our standard operating procedures for handling unidentified aircraft in our airspace, which may pose potential threats.”

“The helicopter (from Malaysia) was directed to avoid entering Singaporean airspace and to operate eastward outside Singaporean airspace,” he further explained.

At 1:03 PM, the helicopter left Singaporean airspace. Once it was confirmed that there were no further safety concerns, the mission of the two Singaporean F-16 aircraft was canceled at 2:05 PM, according to Dr. Ng.

Singapura

He noted that although there were no “immediate safety implications” for civilian air traffic during the presence of the Malaysian civilian helicopter in the Changi Control Zone, the airspace around Changi Airport had to be temporarily closed.

 As a result, 36 inbound flights and eight departing flights from Changi Airport experienced delays.

On August 9th this year, the Republic of Singapore Air Force scrambled two of its F-16 fighter aircraft in response to a Malaysian civilian helicopter entering the Republic’s airspace .

According to statements from the Ministry of Defence of Singapore and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on August 9th, the foreign helicopter was privately owned and registered to a foreign company.

“Public examination indicates that the helicopter is of civilian type and is registered to a foreign company,” they stated.

 “After ensuring (Singapore’s) safety was not compromised, the F-16 aircraft returned to base,” according to the statement, with the fighter aircraft having been scrambled at 12:40 PM.

Helikopter
AS50 helicopter

 

Operations at Changi Airport were disrupted for 40 minutes between 12:50 PM and 1:28 PM, according to authorities.

The F-16 aircraft of the Republic of Singapore Air Force were deployed from Tengah Air Base, and the Malaysian civilian helicopter, alleged to have entered the Republic’s airspace, was of the AS350 or “Squirrel” type.

A similar incident occurred on September 11, 2021, when Singapore scrambled two F-16 fighter aircraft armed with air-to-air guided missiles AIM-9 and AIM-120 after a Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) helicopter was said to have flown near the airspace of Pulau Tekong.

In a statement, the Royal Malaysia Police Headquarters confirmed the flight of their helicopter in airspace near Singapore.

 “The flight of the PDRM helicopter in airspace near Singapore today is for official duty purposes. Throughout the mission to date, the PDRM has not been informed by Singaporean airspace authorities of any incident related to the helicopter’s entry into Singaporean airspace,” the statement said. — DSA

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