A silent aegis for over 30 years, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) finally unveils 200 Squadron. Set up in the 1980s, 200 SQN is a dedicated Command Control (C2) unit of the RSAF solely for the air defence of the Lion City. The announcement yesterday also publicised the establishment of 202 Squadron.
200 SQN sits in the Air Surveillance and Control Group (ASCG) with sister units, 202 Squadron and 203 Squadron. ASCG is one of the three branches of the Air Defence and Operations Command (ADOC). You may wonder where is the missing 201 SQN,which is in fact is part of Participation Command as they support Army / Navy operations under the Tactical Air Support Group.
She is the core of RSAF’s air defence operations. 200 Squadron’s Air Operation & System Experts (AOSX) and Air Warfare Officers (AWO) are responsible of maintaining a 24/7 watch on the multitude of radar systems, (eg FPS 117, Giraffe AMB) and together with the 111 SQN G550 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft, creating a recognised air picture stretching as far as 250 nautical miles to assist in RSAF’s commanders tactical decision making.
200 SQN’s AWO provides Ground Control Intercept (GCI) services to RSAF Fighter Group’s aircrafts. GCIs allows the pilots to have greater situational awareness of the battle and positive control from ground commanders. There are also Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) Controllers giving firing orders to Air Defence Group (ADG) firing units.
With aerial threats and air combat becoming more complex, the establishment of the new 202 SQN will offload 200 SQN of some air defence duties.
200 SQN works closely with 203 SQN, RSAF’s C2 air traffic squadron to ensure the safety of RSAF flying missions and integrity of the airspace. Their ties started as soon at 200 SQN was established, with 203 SQN stood up as early as 1971. 203 SQN, who won the Best Control Squadron for FY 13/14, has close ties with Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and is responsible for the safe launch and recovery of RSAF assets from their bases and de confliction with civilian traffic. To put it simply, AWOs from 200 SQN bring fighters as close as possible while the 203 counterparts do the direct opposite.
200 SQN was put into action a number of times, most notably in 2008 where they detected, tracked and intercepted an unidentified Cessna Caravan flying from Koh Samui to Singapore. 203 SQN secured the airspace from CAAS before F-16D+s, under the control of 200 SQN intercepted the aircraft and forcing it to land in Changi International Airport. 200 and 203 Squadron duo was also involved in the 2003 fighter scramble, where a Beechcraft 33 lost contact with civilian air traffic and while heading to Singapore. It was later found out that the aircraft was unreachable due to an on board electrical failure.
While Chief of Air Force, who was Commander ADOC, continues to call for “forging of tribes” amongst the RSAF units, the unveiling of 200 SQN not only create a real identity of 200 SQN’s personnel to the public, but also further commitment and meaning to their once secret service. It has also lifts certain pressure off them. An unnamed 200 SQN personnel mentioned to local press that, “ I do not have to avoid questions from family and friends on where I work. I can now proudly say I am from 200 SQN.”
The future trio of 200, 202 and 203 Squadron will enable RSAF to effectively and safely employ her ground based air defence, and aircrafts to counter a spectrum of air defence scenarios, both conventional and non conventional. And it is a reminder that there are still people out their in the silent service working tirelessly in their 24/7 mission, all in the higher purpose of a safe skies.
Vigilant and Ready