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Singapore boosts 2023 defence budget by nearly 6%

Janes Defence Budgets forecasts that Singapore's defence budget will continue its upward trend between 2023 and the end of the decade. (Janes Defence Budgets)

Singapore has announced a 2023 defence budget of SGD17.98 billion (USD13.4 billion). The figure is a 10% increase over the original budget for 2022 and a 5.6% increase over the revised allocation of SGD17.02 billion.

The defence expenditure for 2023 includes SGD17.11 billion for operations, a 4.2% increase. Most of this – or SGD17.04 billion – is directed towards the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

The Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said the SAF allocation will pay for the purchase of military equipment, maintenance of equipment and camps, and allowances and salaries. It said the SAF allocation increases by nearly SGD694 million compared with the revised expenditure in 2022.

The 2023 budget also includes SGD871.3 million for development expenditure, an increase of 43%. MINDEF said the strong increase is partly due to the resumption of projects previously affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

MINDEF added that the resumption of military activities previously stalled by the Covid-19 pandemic also prompted an increase in 2022's original defence budget. “Heightened inflationary pressures” in development projects, operations, and training also prompted the budgetary increase, it said.

No additional spending details were provided by MINDEF.

On 24 February, the Singapore government said it would exercise an option to acquire eight additional short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL)-capable Lockheed Martin F-35B fighter aircraft in addition to the initial four airframes of the type that it agreed to procure in 2019. The F-35Bs will replace the SAF's F-16s, which are expected to be retired from the mid-2030s.

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