US offers Singapore F-16 training deal worth $251 million

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The US Department of Defense has notified Congress of the possible extension of Singapore’s Lockheed Martin F-16 training programme in Arizona.

A release by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency has said the five year, $251 million contract would extend the Singapore air force’s Peace Carvin II detachment at Arizona’s Luke air force base.

The package includes a broad range of equipment and services including training, captive air training missiles, jet fuel, air-to-air tanker support, and other elements related to hosting a contingent of fighters in the continental USA.

“Singapore needs this training and equipment to support its F-16 aircraft,” says the DSCA. “The continuation of this training program will enable Singapore to develop mission-ready and experienced F-16 pilots. The well-established pilot proficiency training program at Luke Air Force Base will support professional interaction and enhance operational interoperability with US forces.”

Singapore is an important operator of the F-16, with Flightglobal’s World Air Force’s directory showing that it has 60 F-16 C/Ds.

It plans to upgrade these aircraft with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars and new avionics. Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems are both interested in the avionics work, while Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are interested in the radar upgrade.

Singapore also has a long term interest in obtaining the F-35 joint strike fighter, and is believed to have a preference for the F-35B short takeoff vertical landing (STOVL) variant.