SHAH ALAM: Singapore cleared to buy 12 F-35Bs. The US State Department on Jan.9 announced the possible sale of 12 Lockheed Martin F-35Bs to Singapore, of about $2.75 billion (RM11.2 billion).
The State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the possible in a notification to the US Congress, which will need to approve the sale. The deal include up to 12 F-35 Bs – four initially, with an option for another eight and 13 F135 engines, along with electronic warfare systems, the Autonomic Logistics Information System, training systems, software development, personnel training, among others. The four aircraft will be based in the US, at an airbase, the location of which yet to be announced
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States,” DSCA said in a statement. “Singapore is a strategic friend and Major Security Cooperation Partner and an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region.”
It must be noted that the sale has yet to take place but as most of you are aware, Singapore has been looking to buy the F-35s for a decade now and this is the latest step towards signing the deal. As the F-35s are more expensive than the F-16s, the talk is that Singapore will not be replacing their Vipers on one to one basis. That said we will have to see what the future will bring.
Once the sale is completed, Singapore will be the first country in Southeast Asia to put a stealth fighter into service. It will be joining Australia, Japan and South Korea as the Asia Pacific operators of the Lightning II. It will be the first F-35B STOVL operator in Asia though as the others are operating the A variant of the F-35.
Japan is reported to be interested in the B variant of the F-35 as well though it has not contracted any aircraft for the moment. The F-35Bs of the USMC were involved in an exercise in Sabah, in August, 2018.
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