US approves $173m upgrade to Singapore's F-16 fighter jet fleet

A F-16 fighter jet from SAF's 145 Squadron. The US State Department has approved a $130 million (S$173.3 million) deal for an upgrade of Singapore's F-16 fleet, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement on Thursday. -- PHOTO: ST
A F-16 fighter jet from SAF's 145 Squadron. The US State Department has approved a $130 million (S$173.3 million) deal for an upgrade of Singapore's F-16 fleet, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement on Thursday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

WASHINGTON - The US State Department has approved a $130 million (S$173.3 million) deal for an upgrade of Singapore's F-16 fighter jet fleet, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement on Thursday.

The upgrade of 60 F-16 fighter jets of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will include provision of advanced fighter pilot helmets, missile launchers, armaments, transponders, Global Positioning System technology, personnel training as well as technical and logistics support services, according to the statement posted on the DSCA website.

The program will be carried out by a group of defence contractors such as Lockheed Martin, BAE Advanced Systems and Boeing Integrated Defence Systems.

"The proposed upgrade improves both the capabilities and reliability of the RSAF’s aging fleet of F-16s. The improved capability, survivability, and reliability of the newly upgraded F-16s will enhance the RSAF’s ability to defend its borders and contribute to coalition operations,'' said the statement.

It also said the upgrade program will contribute to the national security of the United States. 

"This proposed sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by increasing the ability of the Republic of Singapore Air Force to support regional security. The proposed sale improves the security of a strategic partner which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia Pacific region.

The statement added that the proposed sale of the equipment and support "will not alter the basic military balance in the region''.