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"RAF Tengah" and "Tengah Airfield" redirect here.
Tengah Air Base (TAB)
Pangkalan Udara Tengah
Tengah Air Base Crest Badge
Tengah Air Base Crest Badge
Airport type Military airbase
Owner Ministry of Defence (Singapore)
Operator Republic of Singapore Air Force
Location Tengah, Singapore
Elevation AMSL 15 m / 50 ft
Coordinates 01°23′14″N 103°42′31″E / 1.38722°N 103.70861°E / 1.38722; 103.70861
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 688 2,258 Asphalt
18/36 2,743 8,999 Asphalt
18R/36L 352 1,155 Grass or Dirt

Tengah Air Base (IATA: TGA, ICAO: WSAT) is a military airbase of the Republic of Singapore Air Force located at Tengah, in the western part of Singapore. The airbase is the most important airfield of the RSAF as it houses the bulk of RSAF's fixed-wing frontline squadrons, home to all of RSAF's Airborne early warning and control (AEWC) assets, most of the F-16C/D Fighting Falcons and a large number of UAVs. The air base goes by the motto of "Always Vigilant", which is supported by its main motif, a chess board Black Knight piece symbolic of the aircraft’s operational readiness in Tengah. The sword represents war’s heraldic sword of destruction, while the state is depicted by the castle.

Prior to Singapore's independence, it was a flying Royal Air Force station known as RAF Tengah.


RAF Tengah

File:RAF Tengah Crest.jpg

RAF Tengah Crest Badge

RAF Tengah was commissioned in 1939. Tengah airfield was the target of carpet bombing when seventeen Japanese navy bombers conducted the first air raid on Singapore, shortly after the Battle of Malaya began. It was also the first airfield to be captured when Japanese forces invaded Singapore.

After the Japanese capture of Singapore, Tengah came under the control of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force while the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service took over the other two RAF stations of RAF Sembawang and RAF Seletar as Singapore was split into north-south sphere of control. This effectively ensured that the Japanese Army took control of the south, including the administrative hub and population center of Singapore City, while the Japanese Navy took command of the north, which included the Royal Navy dockyard at Sembawang.

Malayan Emergency

During the Malayan Emergency, Tengah was used to house Avro Lincolns of the Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force which performed bombing missions on communist terrorist bases/hideouts of the Malayan Communist Party deep in the jungles of Peninsular Malaysia. In 1953 No 45 Squadron was equipped with DH Hornets and re-equipped with DH venoms in 1954 in Butterworth when No 45 Squadron was amalgamated with No 33 Squadron] T.11's of 60 Squadron, joined by 14 Squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. In 1958 they were joined by 45 Squadron and No. 75 Squadron RNZAF, both equipped with English Electric Canberra B.2. The RAAF retained their Lincolns, with 1 Squadron, until the end of the emergency.


An English Electric Lightning F.6 similar to those operated by 74 Squadron from Tengah

During the period of Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, the RAF deployed 74 Squadron with its English Electric Lightning F.6 followed by 20 Squadron with its Hawker Hunter fighter aircraft in addition to the Gloster Javelins of 60 Squadron and 64 Squadron, to the air base to help bolster the air defence of Singapore and Peninsula Malaysia against infrequent air incursions from the MiG-21s and P-51 Mustangs of the Indonesian Air Force.

On 3 September 1964, an Indonesian Air Force C-130 Hercules crashed into the Straits of Malacca while trying to evade interception by a Javelin FAW.9 of 60 Squadron.[1] On 30 April 1968, the Gloster Javelins of 60 Squadron flew their last RAF operational sorties from Tengah and the squadron was disbanded the same day.[2]

V bomber detachment

An Avro Vulcan B.1A bomber touching down, a detachment of these bombers were deployed to Tengah & Butterworth during the period of Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation

As a show of force to deter the Indonesian President Sukarno from launching an all-out war during this period, the RAF also deployed a V bomber force detachment to Tengah in the form of Handley Page Victor B.1A bombers from 15 Squadron in August 1963, which was rotated with those dispersed to RAAF Butterworth in Malaysia. The detachment of Victor bombers was replaced in October 1964 by a detachment of Avro Vulcan B.1A bombers from 12 Squadron, these were subsequently pulled back to RAF Akrotiri in December that same year. In August 1965, 9 Squadron resumed RAF's Vulcan bomber detachment to Tengah, followed by 35 Squadron in December 1965, these were in turn replaced by 9 Squadron again in February 1966. After June 1966, 9 Squadron returned to Akrotiri following the end of the confrontation.

According to British MoD documents declassified in 2000, up to 48 Red Beard tactical nuclear weapons were secretly stowed in a highly secured weapons storage facility at Tengah, between 1962 and 1970, for possible use by the V bomber force detachment and for Britain's military commitment to South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).[3][4]

British Pullout

The RAF station closed at the end of March 1971 and Tengah was handed over to the Singapore Air Defence Command (later the Republic of Singapore Air Force) by 1973, after the British pullout. Despite this, the base continued to host British and Commonwealth air forces and troops under the auspices of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) until 1976.

Tengah Air Base

It was renamed Tengah Air Base (TAB) in 1971, when it was handed over to the Singapore Air Defence Command (SADC). Currently, the air base houses aircraft such as the Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeyes and the Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcons.


File:RSAF Black Knights shoulder patch.jpg

Emblem of the RSAF Black Knights.

Flying Squadrons

The Flying Squadrons based in Tengah Air Base are:[5]

UAV Squadrons

The Flying Squadrons based in Tengah Air Base are:[6]

  • 116 Squadron with H-450

Support Squadrons

The Support Squadrons based in Tengah Air Base are:[7]

  • Flying Support Squadron - 205 Squadron
  • Airfield Maintenance Squadron - 505 Squadron
  • Field Defence Squadron - 605 Squadron
  • Ground Logistics Sqn - 705 Squadron
  • Aircraft Operational Maintenance Sqn - 805 Squadron
  • Aircraft Specialist Maintenance Sqn - 815 Squadron

Photo gallery

See also


  • Conboy, Ken (2003). ‘Kompassus’ – Inside Indonesia’s Special Forces. Jakarta: Equinox Publishing. ISBN 979-95898-8-6. 
  • Wixley, Kenneth E. "Gloster Javelin: a production history, Part 2". Aircraft Illustrated, September 1984, Vol. 17, No 9, pp. 420–422. ISSN 0002-2675.

External links

Video clips

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