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Singapore Plans to Buy Four F-35 Jets with an Option for Another Eight

SINGAPORE – Singapore plans to buy four first F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp, with the possibility of buying eight more, to replace its aging F-16 fleet, the defense minister said, Reuters reported Friday.
Ng Eng Hen told Parliament that the Ministry of Defense will send a request letter to the United States, which must be approved by the US Congress.
With the largest defense budget in Southeast Asia, the rich city-state is a key price for global arms companies, as it seeks to invest in new technologies and modernize its equipment.
“Our LOR will request an initial acquisition of four F-35s, with the option of eight more if we decide to continue,” said Ng. “Singapore has been approved by the US administration and the defense ministry for our F-35 purchase plan, but the Congress still has to approve it.”
Mr. Ng added that Singapore’s request was a “good time” because the price of the F-35s, which oscillates between $90 and $115 million, has steadily declined in response to strong demand from the United States and a further 10 countries, including Great Britain, Italy, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
A Lockheed leader told Reuters a year earlier that talks with Singapore had focused on the F-35B version’s short take-off and landing variant, which “is a smart choice for a smaller environment, subject to terrestrial constraints”.
Lockheed did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
The Singapore fleet of about 60 F-16 jetliners, which entered service for the first time in 1998, will be withdrawn shortly after 2030.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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