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SINGAPORE: Singapore is in the “final stages of evaluating” the F-35 to upgrade its air force, a process US sources say should turn quickly into orders for several dozen of the stealthy warplanes that have been beset by cost overruns and delivery delays.
Singapore, a major business and shipping hub with the best-equipped military in Southeast Asia, is expected to submit a “letter of request” soon for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, said two US government officials who were not authorised to speak publicly on the matter. The city-state could start the process as soon as this week to buy the planes built by Lockheed Martin Corp, one of the officials said. Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, makes the engine for the F-35.
Singapore’s defence minister, Ng Eng Hen, said on Tuesday the air force “has identified the F-35 as a suitable aircraft to further modernise our fighter fleet”.
“Our F-5s are nearing the end of their operational life and our F-16s are at their mid-way mark,” he said in parliament. “We are now in the final stages of evaluating the F-35.”