Thursday, June 20, 2024

F-16 jet crash

Last week’s incident at Tengah Air Base involving a Singapore F-16 jet crash was attributed to a malfunction in a component called pitch rate gyroscopes, as announced by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) on Saturday (May 18).

According to MINDEF’s media release, data retrieved from the crashed F-16’s flight recorder revealed that the pitch rate gyroscopes provided incorrect inputs to the flight control computer, resulting in the pilot’s inability to control the aircraft during take-off.

MINDEF stated that all F-16 fighter jets are equipped with four gyroscopes of this type. In the case of the May 8 crash at Tengah Air Base, MINDEF remarked that the simultaneous failure of these gyroscopes was an exceedingly rare event. It emphasized that this incident marks the first occurrence of such a malfunction in the entire F-16 fleet of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

Now that the cause of the crash has been determined, MINDEF announced that Singapore’s F-16 fleet will resume operations. However, as an additional safety measure, each F-16’s pitch rate gyroscope will undergo inspection and clearance before flights resume.

Following the incident at Tengah Air Base, F-16 training was temporarily halted. The fighter jet crashed shortly after takeoff around 12:35 pm. Fortunately, the pilot ejected successfully and sustained no major injuries.

The RSAF, in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, will conduct further investigations to pinpoint the specific causes of the gyroscope malfunction leading to the crash.

Singapore’s F-16s have been operational since 1998 and recently underwent a mid-life upgrade. However, they are expected to retire by the mid-2030s. The country has identified the F-35 family of jets as their replacement.

In February, Singapore announced its decision to purchase eight F-35A jets, in addition to a previous order of 12 F-35 jets of the “B” variant.

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