Singapore to buy 4 F-35 fighter jets with option for 8 more

Singapore will place an initial order for four F-35 fighter jets for complete testing with the option of a subsequent eight, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced in his Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) Committee of Supply debate speech on March 1st.

Singapore to buy 4 F 35 fighter jets with option for 8 more An F-35B Lightning II prepares for takeoff during flight operations (Picture source: US Navy)

Dr Ng said MINDEF will issue a Letter of Request (LOR) to the US regarding the purchase.

“Our LOR will request an initial acquisition of four F-35s, with the option of a subsequent eight if we decide to proceed,” he said. “As required by US law for foreign military sales, the US Congress must approve the sale of F-35s.”

The exact unit price of the jets has not been finalised, though Dr Ng did say the total cost of owning a fleet of F-35s, including maintenance across its lifespan, will be comparable to the F-15SG programme.

"The Defence Science and Technology Agency's (DSTA) assessment is that now is an opportune time to put in Singapore’s request," Dr Ng said, noting that the price of the F-35 has been "steadily falling" due to "healthy orders" from the US and 10 other countries.
According to maker Lockheed Martin, the F-35B – the short take-off/vertical landing variant that Singapore is reportedly interested in – costs US$115.5 million.