Singapore: Building a fleet of stealth fighters
The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of up to 12 F-35 fighter jets, pictured, and related equipment to Singapore at an estimated cost of U.S. $2.75 billion, pending approval from Congress, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in January 2020.
The Southeast Asian city-state said in 2019 it planned to buy an initial four F-35s from Lockheed Martin Corp., with an option for eight more, as it looks to replace its aging F-16 fleet.
The DSCA said the sale would involve equipment from Lockheed and engine maker Pratt and Whitney. The F-35B variant of the jet can handle short takeoffs and vertical landings, attributes seen as benefiting land-scarce Singapore.
Singapore’s Defense Ministry said formal terms of the purchase would be negotiated after approval from Congress.
The Pentagon in October 2019 announced F-35 jet prices for the next three years, which lowered the cost of the jet by 13%. With Southeast Asia’s largest defense budget, wealthy Singapore is a key prize for global arms companies as it looks to invest in new technology and upgrade its equipment.
Singapore set aside about 30% of its total expenditure on defense, security and diplomacy efforts in its 2019 annual budget. Reuters