SINGAPORE (AFP) – Singapore has chosen the F-35 warplane to replace its ageing fighter jets, opting for the US aircraft over European and Chinese models, the Defence Ministry said yesterday.
The affluent city-state, which has one of Asia’s best equipped militaries, had earlier said it was evaluating Lockheed Martin’s F-35 along with Europe’s Eurofighter Typhoon and Chinese-made stealth warplanes.
“The F-16s will have to retire soon after 2030 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been identified as the most suitable replacement to maintain the RSAF’s (Republic of Singapore Air Force) capabilities,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
The ministry said the air force should first buy “a small number” of F-35s “for a full evaluation of their capabilities and suitability before deciding on a full fleet”.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post yesterday that it took Singapore more than five years to make a decision as they had to look carefully at specifications and what was needed.
“Our agencies will now have to speak to their US counterparts to move the process forward,” Ng said.