What distinguishes F-35As from F-35Bs, and how will Singapore’s defense capabilities be enhanced by the upgraded fighters?

SINGAPORE: The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will eventually have 20 F-35 aircraft when it purchases eight F-35A jets, according to a statement made by Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen on Wednesday, February 28. As he began his address at the Ministry of Defence’s (MINDEF) budget debate in parliament, Dr. Ng used the wars between Israel and Hamas and Russia and Ukraine to indicate that the “world has become a more dangerous place”.


Strong Singaporean armed forces, according to him, serve as a deterrent to aggression and adventurism. There is no safety net if Singaporeans are unable or unwilling to protect their country,” he declared. The current acquisition adds to the twelve F-35 aircraft of the B type that the US manufacturer Lockheed Martin already has on order. According to Dr. Ng, once they are all operational, Singapore’s air force will be in the “premier league”.


The F-35B aircraft, which were ordered in 2020 and 2023, are anticipated to arrive in 2026 and 2028, respectively, while the F-35As are anticipated to be delivered in or around 2030. Along with South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Singapore, the Indo-Pacific area has four nations that have purchased F-35 aircraft. Aside from the US, other countries using the F-35 include Israel, the UK, Canada, and several European nations. What precisely will the F-35As contribute, then? And what distinguishes them from the current order of F-35Bs? To find out, CNA spoke with three defense analysts. Because the two fighters work differently, the F-35A is able to fly farther and carry more armaments than the F-35B.




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