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Singapore details F-35 plans
The F-35 will operate alongside the F-15SG. © Boeing

Singapore details F-35 plans

The Minister of Defence for Singapore, Ng Eng Hen, has further clarified the country's plans to modernise the Royal Singapore Air Force combat aircraft fleet.

Speaking at the Committee of Supply Debate in parliament, the Minister of Defence for Singapore, Ng Eng Hen, has further clarified the country's plans to modernise the Royal Singapore Air Force combat aircraft fleet through the acquisition of F-35s.

The acquisition is part of the overall roadmap to establish the Next-Gen Singapore Armed Forces for 2030 and beyond.

The minister confirmed plans to replace the F-16s, which will face obsolescence post-2030, with the F-35s: “This will mean that the RSAF fighter fleet will consist of F-35s and F-15SGs, if plans come to fruition a decade or so from now.”

He said the ministry would submit a Letter of Request (LOR) to the U.S. to acquire F-35s. The LOR will request an initial acquisition of four F-35s, with the option of a subsequent eight. Ng noted that Singapore had the endorsement of both the U.S. Administration and the Department of Defense for the proposed purchase of F-35s, which nonetheless still acquires approval from Congress.

Ng underlined the fact that the price of F-35s has been steadily falling, creating an opportune time for Singapore to put in its request. He said that the current unit price of the F-35 ranges from $90m to $115m, comparable to what Singapore paid for its F-15SG.

According to the minister, the total cost of ownership of a fleet of F-35s, including maintenance across its lifespan, will also be similar to the F-15SGs.

The RSAF is also due take delivery of H225M medium-lift and Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from 2020 onwards, along with “newer UAVs with better capabilities”.

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