TL;DR – How the RSAF converts public road at Lim Chu Kang into fighter jet runway for Exercise Torrent
You know the classic tale everyone talks about when you’re driving to the airport along the ECP – with the removable potted plants in the centre (instead of the usual large rooted trees we see) and how it’s actually an emergency runway for Singapore?
Besides this famous stretch of road, there is also another alternative runway along Lim Chu Kang Road which is normally used by heavy vehicles heading north and to the farmways but for this weekend has been converted into an aircraft runway for the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) Exercise Torrent.
Involving some 110 RSAF servicemen, this seventh Exercise Torrent, also known as the Alternate Runway Exercise, is back after eight years and this time round, featuring the latest F-15SG fighter jets.
The first exercise was conducted on 17 Apr 1986 with the participation of the A-4 and F-5 fighter aircraft and the previous exercise was conducted in 2008.
The conversion of LCK Road into a runway requires the removal of public road fixtures such as lamp posts, traffic lights, bus stops, road signs and guard rails with assistance from agencies such as the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA). In addition, the setting up of airfield equipment and fixtures such as the Mobile Arrestor Gear (MAG), Solar Portable Airfield Lights (SPAL), and Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPIs) are also accomplished. RSAF servicemen are also involved in other critical tasks to support the exercise, such as engineering and logistical support for the aircraft and airfield systems, as well as runway and air base security.
The Exercise aims to hone the RSAF’s operational readiness and ability to deliver air power from public roads and the RSAF will carry out simultaneous launch and recovery operations from Lim Chu Kang Road and Tengah Air Base.
Servicemen are given 48 hours to convert the road measuring 2,500m in length and 24m in width into a runway – but knowing our Forces and their ability to over-deliver, I’m pretty sure it takes them a much shorter time 😉
Here, our Minister for Defence also posted about Exercise Torrent on his Facebook page,
And if you’re wondering if there are other such alternative runways on our tiny island, I would love to tell you…
But then, of course, I’d have to kill you.