(Bloomberg) -- Singapore has identified Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as the most suitable replacement for its fleet of F-16 fighter jets and plans to buy a small number for evaluation, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Friday.
The Air Force’s F-16s that were in service since 1998 will retire soon after 2030, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post the same day. A final decision on the purchases may take nine to 12 months, he said.
Singapore has an annual defense budget of S$14.76 billion ($10.9 billion), the Straits Times reported in March 2018. Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon completed negotiations last September for an order of F-35s at $89.2 million each for the cheapest model including engines and an award fee. The F-35 jets generated 25 percent of the company’s consolidated net sales in 2017, Lockheed said in its annual report for that year.
The Singapore government will discuss details with relevant parties in the U.S. before confirming its decision to acquire the F-35 fighter jets for Singapore’s defense capabilities, the ministry said in the statement.
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