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Singapore Adds Another Eight F-35A, Total F-35 Fleet Increases to 20

Today's announcement brings the total number of fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, that will be owned by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to 20 units.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Singapore has announced the acquisition of an additional eight fifth-generation F-35A fighter jets, supplementing its existing order of 12 F-35B (Vertical Short Take Off and Landing – VSTOL) aircraft.

 This latest announcement brings the total number of F-35s, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, that will be in the possession of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to 20.

Speaking in the republic’s Parliament today, Singapore’s Defense Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hean stated that the newly ordered eight F-35A jets are expected to be delivered to Singapore by 2030.

Dr. Ng remarked, “Once operational, these F-35 aircraft will place the RSAF in the ‘Premier League’,” adding that the acquisition of these fifth-generation fighter jets is aimed at capitalizing on their currently more competitive pricing due to global demand.

However, the Defense Minister did not disclose the financial details of the acquisition of the eight F-35A fighter jets.

F-35

The F-35A variant is a conventional fighter jet requiring a long runway for takeoff and landing, whereas the F-35B variant, which requires only a short runway for these operations, has been previously ordered by Singapore.

 The F-35 fighter jet is available in three variants: “A,” “B,” and “C,” the latter being specifically designed for operations from aircraft carriers and currently only in use by the United States.

Singapore’s defense budget for this year has seen a 2.5 percent increase to US$15 billion (approximately RM67.5 billion), which accounts for about three percent of the republic’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In comparison, Malaysia’s defense budget for the year stands at RM19.7 billion, representing only one percent of the country’s GDP.

In February last year, Singapore announced the purchase of eight fifth-generation F-35B fighter jets, adding to the four F-35 jets it acquired in 2019 for an estimated US$2.75 billion (approximately RM11 billion).

F-35B
F-35B Vertical Short Take-Off Landing (VSTOL)

 

Singapore is set to begin receiving these F-35B aircraft in 2026.

The F-35B VSTOL variant, purchased by Singapore, requires a very short runway, approximately 550 feet in length, for takeoff, while it can land vertically.

The unit price of the F-35B, attributable to its VSTOL capability, is estimated at US$110 million (approximately RM440 million) per aircraft, compared to the estimated unit price of US$80 million (approximately RM320 million) for the F-35A variant. — DSA

(MORE ARTICLES ON F-35)

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