Defence minister also says that requirement for 10 aircraft and 10 options may "scale up or down"

Singapore aims to order 10 new fighters, plus 10 options, in mid-2004 after identifying a shortlist of three manufacturers by mid-September.

Singapore has been evaluating fighters from five manufacturers that responded to a request for information earlier this year: the Boeing F-15 and F/A-18E/F, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60 and Sukhoi Su-35. It is believed Singapore has already made a preliminary selection of the F-15, F/A-18 and Typhoon, but it will take a couple of months to secure government approvals (Flight International, 10-16 June).

"In the next two to three months we'll be able to shortlist it down to three," minister of state for defence Cedric Foo said at the show.

He added that Singapore has begun the request for proposals (RFP) stage of the competition that specifies 10 aircraft and 10 options. "But there's always a possibility to scale up or scale down," he said.

The RFP requires the new fighters to be delivered in 2007-8. Foo pointed out that a possible separate purchase of Joint Strike Fighters would not result in deliveries until about 2012.

Singapore also plans to choose a new naval helicopter "by the end of the year", Foo said. The republic is evaluating the Eurocopter AS532SC Cougar, NH Industries NH90 and Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk. Foo said Singapore aims to equip six new frigates with two helicopters each.

Both the fighter downselect and the final helicopter selection were to have been completed by now, but Singapore requires extra time to gather additional information from the candidates. Foo revealed that Singapore is waiting for some manufacturers to provide source codes, but declines to say which have yet to respond fully to its requests.

He adds that the downselect "is not going to be political".

Source: Flight International