The Singapore government is reportedly evaluating a future purchase of America’s next-generation F-35 fighter aircraft, Lockheed Martin’s executive said Thursday on the sidelines of on-going Singapore Airshow.
"They, I think, are seriously evaluating the F-35, as well as other platforms I'm sure," Lockheed International Executive Vice President Rick Edwards told Reuters this week at the Singapore Airshow, adding, "when they are ready, we will respond."
The F-35B "jump" jet is on display at the Singapore Airshow, which runs from February 6 to 11.
According to the report, the government is in initial discussions with the firm for F-35B version short take-off and landing variant, which he described as “a nice fit for a smaller land-constrained environment”.
Singapore Chief of Air Force Mervyn Tan said the country was studying the F-35 as part of its long-term planning, the Straits Times reported on Monday.
However, Richard Aboulafia, a Washington aviation analyst and vice president of analysis at Teal Group, in a Thursday report for Defense News, said that Singapore is "likely to join the F-35 club in the next 10 years".
Aboulafia described Asian market to be the strongest, stating that “up to 2015, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Singapore were the only countries to purchase a military aircraft with a unit price in excess of $50 million, except for Israel and Saudi Arabia”.
The F-35 Lightning II fighter jet has a top speed of Mach 1.6 and can carry 18,000 pounds (8,182 kilograms) of ordnance. One variation of the F-35 has the ability to land vertically, like a helicopter.
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