US govt approves sale of F-35B jets to S'pore

The F-35B jets (left), which can take off from shorter runways and land vertically, are meant to replace Singapore's ageing F-16 fleet, which has been in service since 1998. PHOTO: REUTERS
The F-35B jets (above) are meant to replace Singapore's ageing F-16 fleet, which has been in service since 1998.PHOTO: REUTERS

The United States government has approved the sale of up to a dozen F-35B stealth fighter jets and related equipment to Singapore for US$2.75 billion (S$3.7 billion).

Singapore first announced plans to buy the jets from Lockheed Martin to replace its ageing F-16 fleet - which has been in service since 1998 - in March last year.

The US Defence Department said Singapore requested to buy four F-35Bs, with the option to buy eight more, as well as up to 13 engines, electronic warfare systems and related support and logistics services. The fighter jets can take off from shorter runways and land vertically. Each costs US$115 million, according to figures cited in last year's Singapore Budget debate.

The sale must still be approved by the US Congress, which is expected to give the green light.

Singapore would be the fourth country in the Asia-Pacific region to own F-35 jets, after Australia, Japan and South Korea.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2020, with the headline 'US govt approves sale of F-35B jets to S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe