U.S. Approves Sale Of F-35 Lightning II Stealth Aircraft To Singapore

U.S. Approves Sale Of F-35 Lightning II Stealth Aircraft To Singapore
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Steve Gillette explains the capabilities of the F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter to Dr. Ng Eng Hen, Singapore minister of defense, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Dec. 10, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jason Colbert)

The US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of up to 12 Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters to Singapore for an estimated $2.75 billion.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency says that it notified the US Congress on 9 January.

The agency said Singapore requested to buy up to 12 F-35B STOVL aircraft (four F-35B STOVL aircraft with the option to purchase an additional eight F-35B STOVL aircraft). The potential deal would be for an initial package of four aircraft, with the option to buy eight more examples.

In addition to the aircraft, Singapore requested to buy 13 Pratt and Whitney F135 Engines (includes 1 initial spare), electronic warfare (EW) systems; command, control, communications, computer, and intelligence/communications, navigational; and other equipment.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States,” said in a news release. ” Singapore is a strategic friend and Major Security Cooperation Partner and an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia Pacific region.”

Also adding that this proposed sale of F-35s will augment Singapore’s operational aircraft inventory and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability, adding to an effective deterrence to defend its borders and contribute to coalition operations with other allied and partner forces. Singapore will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.

According to UPI.com, a July State Department report said the U.S. had $7.34 billion in active Foreign Military Sales cases with Singapore’s government.

The F-35B is the short-take-off-and-vertical-landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. A ducted fan that is geared to its main turbine and an exhaust nozzle that rotates downward allows the fighter to take off from shortened or ramped runways, for example on small aircraft carriers. It also can land vertically.

F-35B aircraft have been delivered to the US Marine Corps and the Royal Navy. Italy also is to acquire the F-35B. All three services plan to operate the short-take-off-and-vertical-landing variant from aircraft carriers, as well as austere military bases.

Singapore does not have an aircraft carrier but could use short-take-off-and-vertical-landing capabilities to fly the F-35B from small, hard-to-find military bases. Quickly concealing aircraft from an attack – possibly on an ally’s aircraft carrier or on a remote island – is an important consideration for the small city-state as its airbases are easily reachable by an adversary’s missiles.

“Singapore is a strategic friend and Major Security Cooperation Partner and an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia Pacific region,” says the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in its notice. “This proposed sale of F-35s will augment Singapore’s operational aircraft inventory and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability, adding to an effective deterrence to defend its borders and contribute to coalition operations with other allied and partner forces.”

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency adds the notice of the potential F-35B sale does not mean the deal is finalized.

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