Singapore Defense Ministry Sheds Some Light on F-35 Procurement

The Minister of Defense for Singapore, Ng Eng Hen, has shed some light on the acquisition of the F-35 for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

During a parliamentary speech on March 1, the defense minister announced that Singapore plans to place a firm order for four F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters that will include an option for a further eight aircraft. No mention was made of which type of F-35 variant would be purchased, though the short takeoff vertical landing (STOVL) “B” version would make the most sense for the land-deprived city-state.

Earlier, in January, the defense minister announced via social media the long-expected selection by Singapore of the aircraft following the completion of a technical evaluation by the RSAF and Defense Science and Technology Agency (DSTA).

Singapore will issue a letter of request (LOR) to the U.S. government, thereby formally kicking off the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) process. Once the aircraft is acquired and brought into service, Singapore will be the first Southeast Asian nation to operate the fighter, fielding two American-sourced fighters – the F-35 and the F-15SG – as its combat aircraft arm from 2030 and beyond.

Should the FMS process progress as expected, a second batch purchase mirroring the initial request (four units, plus an eight-unit option) would likely follow at a later date.

The goal of bringing the F-35 into the RSAF fleet reflects Singapore’s long-held security approach of striving for a qualitative military-technology edge over regional neighbors in order to achieve and sustain deterrence capability.

 

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s director of military and defense markets. In this role, Dan oversees a team of analysts tasked with covering everything from budgeting to weapons systems to defense electronics and military aerospace. Additionally, for over 17 years Dan has, at various times, authored the International Military Markets reports for Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Dan's work has been cited in Defense News, Real Clear Defense, Asian Military Review, Al Jazeera, and Financial Express, among others, and he has also contributed commentary to The Diplomat, The National Interest and World Politics Review. He has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. In addition, Dan has made guest appearances on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line, as well as The Red Line Podcast, plus media appearances on France 24 and World Is One News (WION).

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