The US State Department has announced that it has approved the sale of 12 F35Bs, a vertical take-off and landing version of the Lockheed-Martin plane, to replace part of the F16s in service in the Singapore Air Force by 2030 The contract, estimated at $ 2,75 billion, breaks down into 4 devices on firm order, and 8 options, as well as all the services and spare parts for the maintenance and training of crews and technical personnel.
The choice of the F35B, which notably equips the US Marines Corps and the Royal Air Force to arm aircraft carriers and assault helicopters, and which is significantly more expensive than the F35A of the US Air Force, is revealing an evolution of tensions in the Indo-Pacific theater. The Royal Navy of Singapore does not have vessels potentially capable of implementing such devices, or capable of evolving in this perspective, as is the case of South Korea or Japan. Like Taiwan, the objective sought by this acquisition is therefore probably to be able to disperse these aircraft on makeshift or improvised land, so as to maintain an air response capacity if its air bases were to be hit.
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