Air Platforms

Singapore cleared to acquire up to 12 F-35B STOVL JSFs

10 January 2020

An F-35B aircraft operated by the UK Royal Air Force performs a vertical landing manoeuvre at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. Singapore has requested for four of these aircraft, with an option for up to eight more. Source: Jane’s/Kelvin Wong

The US State Department has approved a potential USD2.75 billion Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of Lockheed Martin F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) as well as associated spare parts, logistics, and training support to Singapore.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 9 January that the Singaporean government has requested an initial batch of four F-35B STOVL aircraft with the option to acquire an additional eight.

DSCA also revealed that the proposed package includes up to 13 Pratt & Whitney F135 engines including one initial spare, unspecified electronic warfare, communications, and navigation systems, the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) maintenance and logistics planning suite, software development and integration, and training equipment.

Singapore would be the fourth country in the Asia Pacific region to operate the F-35 - after Australia, Japan, and South Korea - should the sale proceed. It would also represent a brand new STOVL capability for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), which has never operated such aircraft.

"On 5 April MINDEF [Ministry of Defence] submitted a request to purchase F-35Bs from the US - to acquire four planes with an option of an additional eight more, subsequently the Congressional Notification (CN) of Singapore's request of purchase adheres to the formal requirement within the US for possible sale of military equipment to foreign countries," the ministry said in a 10 January statement provided to Jane's .

"It is routine and Congress has 30 days to respond to the CN," MINDEF added. "The CN is not a formal contract of purchase. If the CN passes, formal terms will be negotiated for the Letter of Offer and Acceptance."

MINDEF announced on 18 January that it had identified the F-35 as the "most suitable replacement" for the RSAF's ageing F-16C/D multirole combat aircraft.

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