Singapore Buys Eight More F-35As

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SINGAPORE: The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will purchase eight more Lockheed Martin F-35A stealth fighters, adding on to the initial 12 F-35Bs under contract. This purchase rounds up the future RSAF F-35 fleet to 20 units to replace the F-16s in service, as Singapore’s Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen told Parliament of the greater endurance and heavier ordnance payload of the F-35A and the short take-off and vertical landing capability (STOVL) ability of the F-35B, which provides the RSAF with operational flexibility in case runways are inoperable.

Ng added that the aircraft was combat-proven with a number of countries joining the programme and existing users placing additional orders for the fifth-generation jet. With almost 2,000 F-35s on order, the pipeline is healthy with Singapore banking on its ‘window of opportunity’ due to its competitive price in comparison with the Boeing F-15EX. 

While the official cost for the eight aircraft was not disclosed, it is reported to cost an average USD82.5 million for one F-35A.

Ng stated that the Ministry and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) would likely have to deprioritise other projects to facilitate the purchase of these jets with the first four F-35Bs slated to arrive in 2026 and the following eight in 2028. Overall, the city-state’s defence expenditure will reach USD15 billion this year, a 2.5% increase from 2023 with the expenditure expected to maintain barring conflict and wars, Ng added.

In another revelation, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) will launch its fourth and final Invincible-class submarine in Kiel, Germany later this year, with all four submarines anticipated to be operationally ready around Singaporean waters by 2028. Additionally, the Navy’s unmanned surface vessels (USV) will be fully operational this year.-shp/adj/dl (Pix:Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)