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US approves potential sale of up to 12 F-35 fighter jets to Singapore

SINGAPORE — The United States has approved the potential sale of up to 12 F-35B short take-off and vertical landing aircraft, as well as related equipment, to Singapore at an estimated cost of US$2.75 billion (S$3.7 billion).

US approves potential sale of up to 12 F-35 fighter jets to Singapore

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that the Singapore Government had requested to buy four F-35B aircraft, with the option to purchase eight more.

SINGAPORE — The United States has approved the potential sale of up to 12 F-35B short take-off and vertical landing aircraft, as well as related equipment, to Singapore at an estimated cost of US$2.75 billion (S$3.7 billion). 

In a press release on Thursday (Jan 9), the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees security cooperation programmes with other countries, said that the Singapore Government had requested to buy four F-35B aircraft, with the option to purchase an additional eight more, and up to 13 engine parts, electronic warfare systems and logistics and training systems.

It added that the agency had notified the US Congress of this possible sale on Thursday.

The F-35B aircraft can take off from shorter runways and land vertically. According to its maker Lockheed Martin, the “B variant” is designed to operate from austere bases and a range of air-capable ships near frontline combat zones. 

It is also more expensive than the “A variant”, which can only perform conventional take-offs and landings from longer runways.

If the sale is approved by the US Congress, it will make Singapore the fourth country in the Asia-Pacific region to own F-35 aircraft, after Australia, Japan and South Korea.

“This proposed sale of F-35s will augment Singapore’s operational aircraft inventory and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defence capability, adding to an effective deterrence to defend its borders and contribute to coalition operations with other allied and partner forces,” said the agency.

It added that Singapore will have “no difficulty” absorbing the aircraft into its armed forces and that the sale of the aircraft will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The decision to purchase the F-35 stealth fighters from the US was announced last year by Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (Mindef). They are meant to replace the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s ageing F-16s, which have been in service since 1998 and will become obsolete after 2030.

In response to queries from TODAY, Mindef said that a Congressional notification of Singapore’s request to buy the F-35B aircraft, which was delivered by the DSCA to Congress on Thursday, is not a formal contract of purchase.

“The Congressional notification of Singapore’s request of purchase adheres to the formal requirement within the US for possible sale of military equipment to foreign countries. It is routine and Congress has 30 days to respond to the Congressional notification.’’

Mindef added that formal terms will be negotiated for a letter of offer and acceptance if the Congressional notification passes.

Related topics

RSAF fighter jet F-35 Mindef

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