We reported yesterday on Singapore’s confirmation of plans to buy the Airbus Defence & Space A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT); a story we had been hoping to cover at the air show there last month.
The announcement was part of a long-term defence presentation given to parliament by defence minister Ng Eng Hen. In this, he said the MRTT had been chosen due to having 20% more fuel capacity than the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s aged Boeing KC-135Rs – 1960-1964-vintage airframes.
Airbus confirms that a firm contract has already been signed for six aircraft, meaning that Singapore will follow Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the UK in ordering the A330 as a tanker (Royal Australian Air Force example shown in the Airbus-provided shot). France and India are also expected to follow suit, which would take sales of the MRTT variant to 52 units. That’s impressive, but will the availability of Boeing’s 767-based KC-46A for future contests make it harder for Airbus to make the next such sale?
In the projection out to 2030, Ng refers to operating a fleet of upgraded F-16s and F-15SGs, plus a “next generation fighter aircraft”. Disappointingly, he adds: “We are not quite ready to decide yet”; but that’s more likely to be with regard to the variant of F-35 to be acquired, rather than the platform type itself. I suspect that the use of an F-15 silhouette in the slide is merely generic – like the tactical UAV reference which shows a hand-launched system.