Singapore F-35 selection

Program progress, politics, orders, and speculation
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

weasel1962

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1797
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 02:41
  • Location: Singapore

Unread post18 Jan 2019, 11:06

The working assumption is that they want to use the B but its too risky to go all in with a full B fleet so they're going to test the B first. That's going to coincide with a number of projects e.g. major airbases shift/redevelopment and the joint multi-mission ship (which they don't need many Bs). If the working assumptions are validated e.g. they can operate the B at sea, that's going to be a full/large B fleet. Otherwise, its back to the tried and tested plan A.

Below was what the Defence Minister posted on his facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/ngenghen/

The Republic of Singapore Air Force's F-16s that were in service since 1998 will have to retire soon after 2030, even after their mid-life upgrades. That’s not very far away, just over 10 years, to acquire their replacement and, just as important, to build the logistic support and train pilots individually and as a fleet to guard our skies.

Happy to report that DSTA Defence Science and Technology Agency and RSAF have completed their technical evaluation for the replacement. It took longer than expected – more than five years – as they had to go through in detail specifications and needs, which they could only do after developmental flight testing of the F-35s was completed in early 2018. They have decided that the F-35 would be the most suitable replacement fighter.

Our agencies will now have to speak to their US counterparts to move the process forward, which may take 9 - 12 months before a decision is made. Even then, we want to procure a few planes first, to fully evaluate the capabilities of the F-35 before deciding on the acquisition of a full fleet. We must prepare well and cater enough time to replace our F-16s.


The announcement confirmed that Singapore waited for end of development.
Key date for more information: 18 Feb - 2019 budget where there are normally juicy snippets in the committee of supply debates.
Also awaiting the long-postponed dsca announcement for F-35s but which has been alluded to which should occur within the next 9-12 months.
Offline

mixelflick

Elite 3K

Elite 3K

  • Posts: 3534
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2010, 10:26
  • Location: Parts Unknown

Unread post18 Jan 2019, 15:15

The beginning of the end for most 4th gen planes in competitions with the F-35 IMO...

The Poles will be next...
Offline
User avatar

steve2267

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2243
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2016, 17:36

Unread post18 Jan 2019, 17:21

I was unaware Singapore already have a flattop? On what “B” boat are they planning?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
Offline
User avatar

spazsinbad

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 23600
  • Joined: 05 May 2009, 21:31
  • Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Warnings: -2

Unread post18 Jan 2019, 18:16

Search this thread using SHIP for plenty of ship hits. One 2014 example:

viewtopic.php?f=58&t=23202&p=267436&hilit=ship#p267436
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
Offline

weasel1962

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1797
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 02:41
  • Location: Singapore

Unread post19 Jan 2019, 00:36

steve2267 wrote:I was unaware Singapore already have a flattop? On what “B” boat are they planning?


No flat-top yet...

Google "joint multi-mission ship".
Offline
User avatar

spazsinbad

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 23600
  • Joined: 05 May 2009, 21:31
  • Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Warnings: -2

Unread post19 Jan 2019, 05:10

An oldie but a goldie with some colourful language (perhaps just 'howler'conflagration used instead of CONFRONTATION?).
Singapore’s Aircraft Carrier Ambitions [LONG POST PROLLY BEST READ at SOURCE]
11 Mar 2015 Marvin Diaz

"In early March last year, a model of what appeared to be a Landing Helicopter Dock was put on display at the Singapore Air Show. The model betrayed no other information other than the fact that it was a variant of the Endurance class Joint Multi Mission Ship (JMMS). Although the Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) didn’t make that big a deal out of the whole event, it doesn’t take an expert to look beyond the unpretencious façade of the vessel. To look towards Singapore’s growing role in the establishment of security in the maritime domain of South East Asia....

...In an interview in July 2014, Singapore’s Defence Minister – Dr. Ng Eng Hen spoke about the possibility of commissioning larger Joint Multi Mission Ships, to add to the capabilities of existing Landing Platform Dock vessels, already in service. In addition to this, when asked about the possibility of the acquisition of such a vessel, Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) refused to comment on the topic.

However, MINDEF did confirm that Singapore will soon be acquiring F-35B stealth fighters. Analysts heaved a sign of relief when confirmation came from a rather unusual source. In July 2013, US Air Force General Herbert Carlisle unwittingly disclosed that Singapore’s Chief of Defence Force, Lt. Gen. Ng Chee Meng had confided to him that Singapore had planned to procure the F-35B.

The decision to procure the B variant of the F-35 and the apparent shift in policy in favor of larger Joint Multi Misson Ships (JMMS) point towards Singapore’s regional aspirations. It is plain to see that Singapore has taken it upon them to balance China’s assertiveness.

Though it seems like Singapore’s Ministry of Defence has made up its mind, what are the reasons behind this decision?...

...The lack of real estate can be offset by introducing an off shore floating base of operations. In simple words, an aircraft carrier. Singapore’s Ministry of Defence is taking this option very seriously. But how will they go about acquiring this vessel? The most likely route that will be taken by the Minstry of Defence is to issue the tender to a Singaporean firm. If they are to go down this road, it will be a huge step forward for Singapore’s naval industry. An aircraft carrier is a huge leap from the Endurance class Landing Platform Docks currently in service with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

The second and less likely option would be to procure an existing vessel and carry out an extensive refurbishment.

Despite all the layers of defences, an aircraft carrier’s most potent weapon is the aircraft that operate off of it. Singapore was a Security Cooperative Participant in the F-35 programme for more than a decade and the F 35B has been in the sights of RSN officials for years, but no steps have been made to show interest in the procurement of this aircraft or its variants...."

Graphic: https://i2.wp.com/www.defenceaviation.c ... /Singapore’s-Aircraft-Carrier.jpg URL IS BROKE so here is the TINY: https://tinyurl.com/yaosassy


Source: https://www.defenceaviation.com/2015/03 ... tions.html
Attachments
SingaporeFlatDeckMaybe.jpg
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
Offline

weasel1962

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1797
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 02:41
  • Location: Singapore

Unread post21 Jan 2019, 11:09

Nice article explaining some of the thinking locally. Author used to work for the main broadsheet as their defense journalist.

https://www.todayonline.com/commentary/ ... ghter-jets

Singapore announced on Friday (Jan 18) that it would buy a "small number" of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for "a full evaluation of their capabilities and suitability before deciding on a full fleet". If the sparse 127-word Ministry of Defence (Mindef) statement spread over two paragraphs left you with more questions than answers, you are in good company.

Two key questions remain.
First, is the Lockheed-Martin F-35 — the most advanced warplane that friends of the United States can buy — the chosen one that will replace Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-16s? It is a critical decision as single and double-seat variants of the F-16 are currently the most numerous fighter type in the RSAF. Literature touting the superiority of the new generation multi-role F-35 inevitably ends up downplaying capabilities of F-16s that were once Lockheed's best-selling fighter jet.

Second, what is the RSAF's Plan B if the F-35 fails the evaluation? Singapore's search for an F-16 replacement is the RSAF's longest and most complex fighter evaluation. It was launched formally in March 2004 when the Republic paid an initial US$50 million for what was essentially observer status on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, giving it insights into the evolution of the multi-role fighter aircraft now known as the F-35 Lightning II. After 15 years eyeing the JSF, with the RSAF and Defence Singapore Technology Agency (DSTA) investing the last five years on a technical evaluation, a firm order from Singapore beyond the test airframes continues to elude Lockheed.

When one considers the longevity of the JSF programme, the popularity of fighter jets and copious amounts of literature on the internet debating the merits (or lack thereof), teething issues and cost of the F-35, it is not surprising that the topic has captivated many people in Singapore and abroad.

There are broadly two camps: supporters who feel the F-35 is a game changer, and detractors who argue that the F-35 is an overpriced lemon. (The F-35A conventional take-off and landing model costs almost US$90 million, while the short-takeoff F-35B model costs US$115.5 million.)

Singapore's reputation as a tough and discerning defence customer makes its decision on the F-35 closely watched. Alas, Mindef's skimpy statement on Friday left both camps somewhat perplexed. Fans of the F-35 were disappointed the fighter jet was not declared a clear winner but nonetheless relieved that it is still in the running. Opponents were disappointed the aircraft was not dropped outright after such a lengthy assessment but nonetheless relieved that only a handful — possibly as few as two aircraft — will be used for a thorough assessment.

DEAL OR NOR DEAL?

Mindef and DSTA, Singapore's national authority for weapons acquisitions, appear to be pacing the project prudently and responsibly. Singapore's try-before-buy approach is not unique among JSF customers and has precedents locally. For example, Australia and the Netherlands both acquired two F-35s for tests before buying 100 and 37 fighters respectively. In Singapore, several second-hand Sjoormen-class submarines were bought from Sweden in the 1990s to assess the suitability and capability of these undersea hunters. The successful submarine trials led to the formation of the Republic's submarine force, which is now the largest in South-east Asia.

For the F-35, RSAF and DSTA will have to assess how well the jets can integrate with the Singapore Armed Forces’ network of weapons and sensors. The small number of F-35 test aircraft will therefore serve as prototypes for Lockheed to customise the fighter to the RSAF's specific operational requirements. There should be some latitude for Singapore to recommend enhancements that will facilitate the exchange of data securely and in near real-time, now that other F-35 customers have done likewise.

The F-35 must also adapt to Singapore's equatorial weather. The RSAF learned a hard lesson in 2010 after an Apache attack helicopter crash landed in Woodlands. The investigation found that corrosion of an engine part sooner than maintenance cycles could detect the degradation contributed to the crash. The component failed as a result of operating in Singapore's airspace, which has high salinity as sea breezes constantly fan across the island.

It was a crucial lesson that both the RSAF and Boeing, the Apache manufacturer, appreciated as the near-miss has tightened the maintenance regime to prevent similar incidents. As a result, Apache flights in places close to the sea are now safer.

Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post that the next stage of the F-35 evaluation could take nine to 12 months.

A potential deal-breaker could come from the reluctance of the Americans to allow Singapore to make the modifications it needs to maximise the F-35's potency and effectiveness. Past hang-ups over access to source codes that control sensitive electronic warfare equipment have seen Singapore turn to alternative vendors to fulfil the RSAF's operational requirements.
But when Washington is prepared to work with the Lion City, a win-win partnership blossoms that benefits American industry and enhances the SAF's defence readiness.

This brings us to a discussion on Plan B.

Even without the F-35, the RSAF can still command a numerical and technological edge if alternative jet fighters are introduced to replace the RSAF's fleet of 60 F-16s. Upgrades to the existing stable of fighter types from the US and Europe make new variants of existing fighters such as the F-15, Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale potent adversaries in the air-to-air and air-to-ground arenas.

These fighter types may lack the F-35's stealthiness but are no pushovers in combat. Introduced in meaningful numbers in an integrated air defence network, a future RSAF fighter force sans the F-35 can still represent a formidable deterrent.

Observers are correct to point out the F-35 is the only choice when one is looking for a fighter plane that can integrate information from sensors on the aircraft and data supplied by external sensors like ground radars and warships.

But there are alternatives if one thinks outside the box. For instance, technology might develop from now till 2030 for us to see unmanned combat aerial vehicles operate with advanced sensor fusion and networked capabilities. These might even end up being more stealthy and manoeuverable than manned fighter jets.

Whatever conclusion is reached eventually, the sparse Mindef news release on the F-35 will not be the last we will hear on this subject. Exciting possibilities are in the works and for the future of the RSAF's air power.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
David Boey is a member of Mindef's Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence. A former defence journalist who has visited fighter aircraft factories in the US, Britain and France, he attended the F-35B flight demonstration and static display held for Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen in December 2013 at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
Offline

Corsair1963

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 5885
  • Joined: 19 Dec 2005, 04:14

Unread post21 Jan 2019, 11:25

Upgrades to the existing stable of fighter types from the US and Europe make new variants of existing fighters such as the F-15, Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale potent adversaries in the air-to-air and air-to-ground arenas.

These fighter types may lack the F-35's stealthiness but are no pushovers in combat. Introduced in meaningful numbers in an integrated air defence network, a future RSAF fighter force sans the F-35 can still represent a formidable deterrent.



Actually, "NO" as Singapore would have to face Chinese J-20's and J-31's. No, 4.5 Generation Fighter would be adequate! :doh:
Offline

weasel1962

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1797
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 02:41
  • Location: Singapore

Unread post21 Jan 2019, 15:17

...which would have made perfect sense if Singapore was anywhere near China...
Online

SpudmanWP

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 8400
  • Joined: 12 Oct 2006, 19:18
  • Location: California

Unread post21 Jan 2019, 17:49

Given China's expansionist policy in (read "invasion of") the South China Sea, it's a prudent move to arm yourself against the eventuality.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
Offline

weasel1962

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1797
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 02:41
  • Location: Singapore

Unread post21 Jan 2019, 18:39

...which would also make perfect sense if Singapore actually owned anything in the South China sea. Otherwise Zimbabwe, like Singapore, and every other country should also buy F-35s since China is going to invade the South China sea...
Online

SpudmanWP

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 8400
  • Joined: 12 Oct 2006, 19:18
  • Location: California

Unread post21 Jan 2019, 19:34

Singapore, being on the southern tip of Malaysia, is on the Southwestern border of the South China Sea... Just a bit closer than Zimbabwe :mrgreen:

Your mistake is assuming that "all they want" is the South China Sea. Chamberlain made the same mistake.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
Offline

lbk000

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 273
  • Joined: 04 May 2017, 16:19

Unread post21 Jan 2019, 20:20

I think its likely China will make neither Chamberlain's nor Hitler's mistake. China will not overtly invade any other nation, because they understand well the modern, civilized method of pursuing interests through influence. Taking just the SCS may well be deemed sufficient to achieve dominant influence in the region.

In this sense I consider the F-35 important for Singapore less so for any actual tactical applications, but rather as a political check. With the F-35, Singapore cements itself as a leader in the region for all nations wishing to retain bargaining power against China.
Offline

weasel1962

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1797
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 02:41
  • Location: Singapore

Unread post22 Jan 2019, 02:33

It may surprise some people but not everyone acquires the F-35 with China specifically in mind... Singapore is not going head to head against China who has more 200 times its population and Singapore has carefully avoided alliances that could trigger exactly that, notwithstanding the F-35 being a magic plane. Even if the domino theory applies, China has got to get through a number of other countries before it ever gets to be a direct threat to Singapore (carriers included). The biggest being Taiwan. If China ever reach anywhere near Singapore to be a threat, it would already have defeated the US, probably its European and Far Eastern allies etc, to which a few F-35s operated by Singapore isn't going to make much of a difference.

What is more relevant tactically to Singapore is the prevalence of Sukhoi variants in the South East Asian region and potentially Su-57. The latest to express an interest in the Su-57 being Vietnam. That is probably a bigger driver tactically for an F-35 than any imagined drummed up threat of China.

The difference between Germany in 1939 and China in 2019 is that Hitler practiced Lebensraum which was land expansion to manage population growth. In contrast, the China population will decline. imho, south china sea is a oil and gas resource grab and the Chinese are already there. Despite the drummed up threat from certain quarters, none of the countries actually in the SCS want a fight because resource exploitation can only happen in peace. Singapore has no natural resources. The threat of China to Singapore is as great as the threat of China to Zimbabwe.
Offline

skyward

Enthusiast

Enthusiast

  • Posts: 65
  • Joined: 01 Jun 2006, 13:33

Unread post22 Jan 2019, 03:36

Maybe you guys are over thinking it. Singapore may just want the F-35 because it is the best future proof multi-role jet out there right now.
PreviousNext

Return to Program and politics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests