Singapore has finally decided to buy four F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft with options for eight more. The Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) have decided that the air force should first purchase a small number of F-35 JSFs for a full evaluation of their capabilities and suitability before deciding on a full fleet, as the replacement for Singapore’s ageing F-16 fighters.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the Ministry of Defence will issue a letter of request to the United States for an initial acquisition of four F-35s, with the option of a subsequent eight if Singapore decides to proceed. The US Congress must approve the sale of F-35s, Dr Ng said, adding that Singapore has the endorsement of both the US Administration and the Department of Defence for its proposed purchase. The current unit price of the F-35 ranges from US$90 million (S$121.7 million) to US$115 million, which is comparable to what Singapore paid for its F-15SGs.It’s not clear as to which version of the F-35 Singapore will be seeking from the US However, reports quoting the minister has ruled out buying the “aircraft-carrier version” of the F-35.
Also, from the unit price he mentioned, it could be the F-35A conventional-take-off-and-landing version and the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing version under the latest LRIP 11 contract signed in September 2018 between the DoD and manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
The minister pointed out that the unit price of the F-35 JSF has been falling with “healthy” orders from the US and 10 other countries, including Britain, Italy, Japan and South Korea. The F-35 JSFs and upgraded F-15SG fighter jets will form the RSAF’s line-up of fighter jets stories-2030.
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