Singapore Chooses F-35 as next fighter
by ANZDD on 22-Jan-2019
Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has announced that The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) have completed their technical evaluation to identify the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as the most suitable replacement for its F-16 fleet.
The RSAF’s F-16 fleet which entered service in 1998 is due for retirement after 2030.
However, Singapore has also decided that the RSAF 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
Singapore’s MINDEF will discuss details with relevant parties in the US before confirming its decision to acquire the F-35 JSFs for Singapore’s defence capabilities.
“Our agencies will now have to speak to their US counterparts to move the process forward, which may take 9 – 12 months before a decision is made. Even then, we want to procure a few planes first, to fully evaluate the capabilities of the F-35 before deciding on the acquisition of a full fleet. We must prepare well and cater enough time to replace our F-16s,” said Singapore’s Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in a Facebook post.
Singapore’s DSTA Defence Science and Technology Agency and the RSAF took more than five years to complete their detailed evaluation of the F-35, whose developmental flight testing was completed in early 2018.
The RSAF’s F-16s are due to be retired soon after 2030, following the completion of planned mid-life upgrades.