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Singapore eyes F-35 jets to replace its F-16s

Singapore eyes F-35 jets to replace its F-16s

In an announcement on Friday, Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said that it made the decision following the completion of a technical evaluation conducted together with the Southeast Asian island nation’s Defence Science and Technology Agency. Singapore expects to buy a “small number” of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) for a full evaluation after it identified the jet as the “most suitable replacement” for its ageing F-16s. Singapore will next discuss details with relevant parties in the United States before confirming its decision to acquire the F-35.

Singapore’s defense minister Ng Eng Hen added that this process is expected to take “nine to 12 months.” The deal would almost certainly be through the United States Foreign Military Sales program. Ng had previously said that the F-16s will start to be retired around 2030, although neither he nor the ministry’s announcement indicated how many F-35s will initially be acquired. Also not revealed was the variants that Singapore would buy. A ministry spokesperson declined to provide further details when asked by Defense News.

Singapore eyes F-35 jets  to replace its F-16s

Singapore eyes F-35 jets to replace its F-16s

The announcement ends years of speculation that Singapore would eventually decide on the fifth-generation F-35 as a replacement for the F-16s. Singapore, which is a regional security partner of the United States, currently operates a fleet of 60 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D/D+ Fighting Falcon multirole fighters. These are a mix of 40 Block 52 C/D aircraft and a further 20 newer F-16D+ Advanced Block 52s acquired in four batches between 1994 and 2001. Deliveries started in 1998, which would make the oldest of these 32 years old by 2030. Twelve of the older Block 52s serve with a training detachment based at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona embedded within a mixed USAF-RSAF squadron conducting continuation training for RSAF pilots with the remainder distributed among three Singapore-based squadrons.

Singapore has been a security cooperative partner in the F-35 program since 2003, and first disclosed its interest in the F-35 in 2013. Subsequent reports suggested it was keen on the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B variant. It is believed Singapore has a requirement of 40-60 aircraft, or enough to make up two or three squadrons. The decision is now clear as MINDEF has opted for the radar-evading F-35, which is packed with advanced sensors that allow it to see enemies earlier. One such sensor projects a 360-degree view on the inside of pilots’ helmet visors, enabling them to see through and around the jet. F-35s can also hunt in packs, gathering enemy data across a larger area and automatically sharing it with each other via a more secure network. To that end, MINDEF will also evaluate if the F-35 can work well with other platforms in the Singapore Armed Forces.

Swiss Army Special Forces Command

Swiss Army Special Forces Command

The Special Forces Command (German: Kommando Spezialkräfte) is an infantry corps of the Swiss Armed Forces specialised in rapid offensive operations, intel gathering and operations in urban areas, open fields and other difficult terrains, capable of acting on short notice.Grenadiers are subjected to considerable physical strain, applicants are required to be in excellent physical conditions, and recruits are chosen through a strict selection process. The Grenadiers have been part of the Grenadier Command 1 since the “Army XXI” reform in late 2004, before which Grenadier units were integrated in other regiments. Grenadier Command 1, subordinated to the “Reconnaissance Formations of the Armed Forces and Grenadiers”, is headquartered in Rivera. The Grenadiers’ motto, shared with many other military institutions and most famously with the US Marines, is “Semper Fidelis”.

 Special Forces Command (Switzerland)

Special Forces Command (Switzerland)

The recruitment process of Grenadier units takes place one year before recruit school, and generally matches the ones of other corps, with the exception that one must volunteer to become a Grenadier. Those interested are subjected to comprehensive medical and psychological tests. Recruit school, extending over a period of 25 weeks, is very demanding, both physically and psychologically. Those who, during the first 11 weeks, prove incapable of the necessary performances, are moved to other incorporations. Training for NCOs and officers begins after 9 weeks of recruit school, who undertake respectively 41 and 56 additional weeks of grade-specific training. Additional courses offered to recruits include basic training of shotguns (notably the Remington 870, which is designated as MzGw 91, Mehrzweckgewehr 91) and for marksmen/snipers (for the 8.6 mm Sako TRG) (SSGw 04, Scharfschützengewehr 04) and 12.7 mm PGM Hecate II rifle 12.7mm PGw 04 (12.7 mm Präzisionsgewehr 04 ) and survival techniques.