Singapore has become the latest country to join the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, with Turkey and Israel expected to follow shortly.

According to local defence sources, Singapore signed a letter of acceptance on 23 March to join the JSF's ongoing demonstration phase as a fourth-level participant. Singapore has opted for a "fee for service" type of arrangement, rather than pay a fixed $10 million fee to become a more involved third-level observer.

Under this deal, it can request and pay for specific information on the JSF, which can be supplied in a tailored form for analysis.

As first reported in Flight International (18-24 February, 1998), the Republic of Singapore air force is interested in the JSF as a potential replacement for its Lockheed Martin F-16s.

Singapore, unlike observer nations, will not be entitled to attend programme reviews or occupy a JSF programme office in Washington DC. Nor will Singaporean companies receive any direct insight into the project, considered essential if local industry wants to bid for work in the next engineering manufacturing and development phase.

The UK is the only full collaborative partner. Second-level associate partners are Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway. Canada has observer status.

• Concept demonstrator aircraft (CDA) rivals Boeing and Lockheed Martin have been asked to "submit revised plans that will keep their remaining efforts within fiscal and schedule constraints of the programme", says the US Department of Defense. The two companies had until the end of April to respond.

Lockheed Martin has reportedly overspent by $100 million. Boeing claims to be within 5% of its $750 million CDA contract.

Source: Flight International