Singapore increases defence budget to SGD 20.2 billion, RSAF to add eight F-35A fighter jets

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is set to purchase eight F-35A jets, taking its fleet of the fifth-generation US-made fighter aircraft to 20, reports said.

F-35 Fighter Jets. Photo courtesy:
Representational image of F-35 Fighter Jets. Photo courtesy:

The latest purchase is a continuation of Singapore’s ‘next-generation’ force to serve its security needs.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen told the parliament during the Ministry of Defence’s (MINDEF) budget debate on Wednesday that the new aircraft are expected to be delivered around 2030.

The previous order of 12 F-35 B jets is expected to arrive in Singapore in 2026.

Minister Ng said that once the fleet is operational, it will put the RSAF in the ‘premier league’, as per reports.

While the cost of the latest purchase hasn’t been revealed by the minister, he said that the country capitalised on a ‘window of opportunity’ as prices of F-35 are more competitive now.

Meanwhile, MINDEF’s budget will see a 2.5 percent increase in the FY 2024-25. As per reports, it is expected to be SGD 20.2 billion (USD 15 billion).

How does the F35 A differ from the B variant?

Both the variant of the F35s is manufactured by US-based Lockheed Martin. However, there are basic differences between the two models of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

The A variant weighs more — 8,160 kgs — compared to the B variant — 6,800 kgs.

The F-35A jets is equipped with an advanced sensor suite and carry a bigger fuel tank and weapon payload.

If taking off and landing are the priority, the B variant aces it. It can take off from very short distances and land vertically.