Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Forward Hinge of the Pivot

Singapore is well positioned to hold the southern edge of the kill sack that the South China Sea could potentially be for Chinese naval vessels.

We are deploying a small number of Littoral Combat Ships to Singapore. The first recently arrived for its rotation. Up to four could eventually be based there. Ships need air cover, of course, and Singapore is better off than I thought in that area:

Eight years ago Singapore decided to order a dozen two-seater F-15SG fighter-bombers and then 12 more to complement the 74 F-16s it already had. The last of the F-15SGs arrived last year. The F-15SG variant was a configuration that was unique to Singapore and was the most advanced variant of the F-15. The two-seat F-15SG had high-end electronics comparable to the F-15E it was based on.

I had no idea (or forgot) that Singapore had F-15s. Not many countries have them. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea were the only other countries that flew them, I thought. They are based on an old design but are still potent aircraft when using modern air-to-air missiles and with well-trained pilots. Singapore has ordered those missiles, too.

With these planes, Singapore is a tough target for distant Chinese air power to overwhelm. They can support naval forces in the South China Sea as well as interdict Chinese sea lines of communication from the Indian Ocean. Which means Singapore can surely count on help from India as well as from us.

Plus, it makes it easier for our Air Force to deploy F-16s and F-15s to reinforce Singapore since support facilities will exist for the same planes. That's a powerful air force for the southern end of a kill sack that China is determined to poke their head into.

China may want to bully their way to control of the South China Sea, but they need to be very careful not to push so hard that they provoke a prolonged fight for control.

UPDATE: Thanks to Stones Cry Out for the link.