Singapore F-35 selection

Program progress, politics, orders, and speculation
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weasel1962

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Unread post22 Jan 2019, 04:58

skyward wrote: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.


+1. Agreed. The still unanswered question is whether A or B.

The first government sourced quote on B buy was reported by Gen Herbert Carlisle so its not exactly speculation. See Spaz's post of 15 Aug 2013 16.01pm on pg 5 of this thread. The cost and capabilities differential was already known in 2013. Has anything changed between 2013 and today to change that dynamic? Same Government, same defense minister, different chief of air force and an explanation for the delay: waiting for development testing to complete.

More commentary, this time from DN's Mike Yeo, explaining the Singapore thought & procurement process.
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/co ... r-11147932
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weasel1962

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Unread post01 Mar 2019, 08:34

Singapore to buy 4 F-35 + 8 options in letter of request to US government. FMS approval by congress to follow. Trump "welcomed" decision. DoD already approved it.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/si ... 9-11300934

In typical Singapore fashion, the price range of $90m (A) to $115m (B) does not reveal type yet. Total cost similar to F-15SG. This is revealed in committee of supply debate which typically happens after the budget is announced. Won't be surprised if the FMS indicates either A or B...although previously it was indicated that it would be 12 Bs.
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Unread post02 Mar 2019, 02:25

Regardless of the version, the Singapore air force will need to integrate the F-35 with its CAEW. It thus makes sense that a request for Derby integration (embargo/use risk eliminated) will also happen. The missile integration (including with CAEW) is already performed by the Israelis. Aim-120, Derby and Israeli-built G550 CAEW are already in service with the Singapore air force.

The B variant, if chosen, would be easy to incorporate "small" numbers of meteor and spear 3 as this is already being integrated by the UK. Both munitions are not restricted by MTCR.

If so, this may be the only variant that is Derby, AIM-120 and Meteor-equipped. This is consistent with the Singapore policy of multiple anti-aircraft munition. This is practiced with SAMs (Aster 15/30, VL-Mica, RBS-70, Hawk, Rapier, Spyder (Python/Derby), Igla, Mistral and other unnamed types).
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Unread post02 Mar 2019, 03:37

https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/portal/mi ... r19_speech

Full speech transcript by minister above.

For MRCV, looks very much like the proposed sovereign class frigates built by ST.
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Unread post02 Mar 2019, 06:03

CAEW can be done now with Link-16 and in the future with a gateway like Fredom550 which gives you MADL.

Weapons are another issue. There are basically two quick paths, emulation and UAI. If Israel is smart (which they are), they are pushing UAI driver development to all of their mfgs. Hell, even Turkey was smart enough to go this route with their SOM-J. The other option is emulation where the weapon talks to the fighter as if it's something the fighter is already cleared to use.
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Unread post02 Mar 2019, 10:40

Singapore moves to buy four F-35s, possibly eight more afterward
01 Mar 2019 Mike Yeo

"MELBOURNE, Australia — Singapore will seek to buy four Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters for a start, with an option to purchase eight more, according to the southeast Asian nation’s defense minister.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Ng Eng Hen said Singapore will submit a letter of request to the United States for the purchase, adding that “Singapore has the endorsement of both the U.S. administration and the Department of Defense for our proposed purchase of F-35s.”

He did not disclose which version of the F-35 Singapore will request when asked by lawmakers, although he was quoted as ruling out buying the “aircraft-carrier version” of the F-35, and told Parliament that the unit price of the aircraft “ranges from U.S. $90 million to U.S. $115 million.”...

...The country typically makes its combat aircraft acquisitions in small, incremental batches, so the relatively small order is not much of a surprise. If the option for the additional aircraft is picked up, Singapore will have the numbers to launch a training detachment, likely based in the United States, to train pilots and maintainers...."

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... afterward/
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Unread post02 Mar 2019, 14:03

The "aircraft carrier" version is the f-35c. That's consistent with the vids.
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Unread post02 Mar 2019, 14:06

:devil: :doh: WOW - I did not know that. :doh: :devil:
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Unread post03 Mar 2019, 18:03

8) Interestin' tidbit in this news report. :shock: You'll have to get past the headline - I did. :doh: :roll:
F-35C Achieves IOC; Singapore Details Initial F-35 Buy
01 Mar 2019 David Donald & Chen Chuanren

"...On March 1, Singapore released some more details about its intended F-35 procurement. The country has announced that it will make an initial purchase of four F-35 Lightning IIs, with an option for eight more as the replacement for its F-16 fleet. The initially small number of aircraft is for a final full evaluation by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) on its capability. The next step is for the Ministry of Defence to issue a Letter of Request (LOR) to the United States to seek Congressional approval for the Foreign Military Sales (FMS).

“Our LOR will request an initial acquisition of four F-35s, with the option of a subsequent eight if we decide to proceed,” Defence Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen told the Singapore Parliament at the Committee of Supply debate on March 1. Ng said that the U.S. Administration and the Department of Defense have endorsed the purchase and both President Donald Trump and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan have welcomed Singapore’s plan.

Ng said the unit price of the F-35 has been steadily falling due to healthy orders, and the ministry’s procurement arm, Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), said it is “an opportune time” to make Singapore’s request. He added that the unit price for each jet is ranging from US$90 million to US$115 million, comparable to that for Singapore’s F-15SG. Similarly, the total cost of ownership, including maintenance across its lifespan, is close to that of the F-15.

Source: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... l-f-35-buy
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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weasel1962

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Unread post04 Mar 2019, 02:39

The other nuggets in the COS speech was "Joint Multi-Mission Ships", in the plural form not once but twice mentioned. If the F-35B is embarked onboard, it may not be just one vessel.

Also, the Minister confirmed that post 2030, "the RSAF fighter fleet will consist of F-35s and F-15SGs". That means 3 squadrons of F-16s to be replaced. Clearly it will not be just 12 F-35s.
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steve2267

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Unread post04 Mar 2019, 02:55

The Killer Bee seems tailor made for Singapore. Unless Singapore truly needs the range of the Model A, the Bee gives the RSAF / RNAF a lot of basing options from airfields to roads to ships. Would seem to greatly complicate an adversary's 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.
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Unread post04 Mar 2019, 03:58

The A vs B’s range comparison is less relevant in Singapore’s case. Beyond ~600nm, the A will need aerial refuel. Beyond ~450nm, the B will need aerial refuel. The difference would be material only if there is no air tankers available. There is also no targets between 450nm and 600nm that make an A that necessary and rules out a B (which could in theory still bridge that gap between 450nm to 600nm with drop tanks or just longer ranged munitions). If there are air tankers available, then it just means the B tops up earlier. The 6 A330 that will be operated by RSAF (4 of which are already operational by Nov 2018) can fuel more than a dozen F-35Bs per sortie (less F-35As principally because of larger fuel tank).

The real difference is in cost. Why pay more for a B? The USMC justification is easy. No other plane can fly off an LHD. Japan realised that. The UK case was a bit more difficult, their CVs could have flown the F-35C, if they had designed it so from the start. Was the Israel case a bridge too far for Bs?

The F-35A may still be the best variant for land basing. Like other conventional fighters, it can take off from road runways and land quickly with parachutes. B variant is about flexible basing beyond roads and runways. Singapore is too small to operate QE-sized CVs but LHDs are already in the works, no conversion required.
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Unread post04 Mar 2019, 09:34

Did this 9 years back to illustrate that the Singapore intended ops area is well-covered even for a B. Beyond the range circles, air refuel would apply.

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Unread post14 Mar 2019, 20:52

Singapore Plan Implies F-35 Order Complete In 2020s
13 Mar 2019 Marhalim Abas & Bradley Perrett

"KUALA LUMPUR, BEIJING—Singapore will retire its 60 Lockheed Martin F-16s by 2030, a government presentation suggests, implying that acquisition of F-35 Lightnings will be completed in the [2020s] … [NO SUBscription]

Source: https://aviationweek.com/awindefense/si ... lete-2020s
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post15 Mar 2019, 01:20

The avweek report may need some context.

(a) The F-16 upgrade will be completed in 2023. Will these be deployed for under a decade especially factoring the cost of upgrade?
(b) Singapore acquisition in the past has generally been 1 squadron every 5 years. This is intentional to avoid large acquisitions.
(c) The initial F-35 buy was already stated for test. Will they go full buy before testing is complete?
(d) 140 sqn and 143 sqn being the oldest are more likely to be replaced first as they will reach 30 years from FOC by 2030. However 145 sqn operating the later F-16D Blk52+ only FOC in 2006. Will they operating these for under 30 years?
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