Singapore’s upgraded F-16C/D can fire Israeli Python-5 infrared guided missile

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has publicly revealed that its newly upgraded F-16 fighter jets have been armed with one of the most advanced guided missiles in the world.

An information board at the Paya Lebar Air Base – where the RSAF’s 55th-anniversary open house will be held on Saturday (Sep 9) and Sunday – shows that its upgraded Lockheed Martin F-16 C/D/D+ fighter aircraft now carry the Python-5 missiles, according to a report by security intelligence firm Janes.

These short-range air-to-air missiles, manufactured by Israeli defence firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, are capable of destroying airborne threats within a 20km radius.

The missiles also come with a modern feature that allows pilots to lock onto enemy aircraft and press fire without having to change direction.

The RSAF’s deployment of the Python-5 missiles was reported by some defence publications some months ago, but the RSAF did not go fully public with it till now.

It first began taking delivery of its upgraded F-16s in June 2021. They will remain in operation for at least another decade, having been in service since 1998.

Mid-life upgrades began in 2016 and the RSAF has plans to eventually replace its fleet of F-16s as they face obsolescence globally beyond 2030. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced earlier this year that it will acquire 12 F-35Bs and take delivery of them by the end of this decade.

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