Singapore to Purchase Eight Additional F-35B Fighters from Lockheed Martin
Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has exercised an option to acquire eight additional F-35B Lightning II Fighter multirole combat aircraft from Lockheed Martin.
The update builds on a contract signed in 2020 for 12 F-35Bs to be delivered by the end of the decade for the Singapore Air Force (RSAF).
New Fighter Jet Assessment
According to MINDEF, exclusive access to the F-35’s full-scale features persuaded the government to procure additional jets.
The access comprised details of the F-35B’s information and facilities and was granted to the RSAF and the Singaporean Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA).
The data allowed RSAF pilots to replicate the F-35’s operability through simulations and exchange knowledge with more experienced F-35 users, including the US Marine Corps.
“There were technical and engineering aspects of the evaluation, in which we were able to ascertain (its capabilities), both with the United States government and Lockheed Martin,” RSAF Air Plans Department Head Col. Daxson Yap stated.
Gaining Confidence in the F-35
In 2022, the RSAF flew alongside F-35s during an air combat exercise in Australia to gain more information on the aircraft.
“These experiences provided information for the RSAF and DSTA project team to study the aircraft’s operational capabilities and its ability to integrate with the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF’s) warfighting systems,” DSTA Air Systems director Ang Jer Meng explained.
“All of these have given us valuable insights (on the F-35Bs). MINDEF and the SAF have concluded that the F-35 is the best choice to meet our defence needs now and in the future,” Singaporean Defence Minister Ng En Hen said.
Once delivered, RSAF’s future F-35B fleet will replace the service’s F-16 Fighting Falcons, which have been in service since 1998 and will reach retirement in the mid-2030s.