Douglas Barrie/LONDON

SINGAPORE IS negotiating to purchase a further six Lockheed Block 52 F-16C/Ds. The deal would increase its total order to 24 aircraft, which is sufficient to equip two full squadrons.

A foreign-military-sales (FMS) contract for the additional aircraft is expected to be concluded in March, according to Washington-based sources.

It is hoped to include the purchase as part of the earlier Peace Carven II FMS package for eight F-16Cs and ten two-seat F-16Ds concluded in 1994 (Flight International, 20-26 July, 1994).

The first 18 Pratt & Whitney F100-229-powered F-16C/Ds are scheduled for delivery between March and November 1998. The additional aircraft will enable the air force to maintain a squadron of 12 F-16C/Ds in the USA for pilot training at Luke AFB, Arizona, as well as a second squadron in Singapore.

Nine leased F-16A/Bs used by Singapore at Luke are to be returned to the US Air Force by 1996. In the meantime, the USAF has agreed to replace the aircraft with leased F-16C/Ds.

Another seven early-build F-16A/Bs, based in Singapore, will be upgraded or sold.

Singapore is also expected to make a decision soon on a laser-designator targeting pod for the F-16. The Singapore air force has already ordered the Martin Marietta LANTIRN navigation pod, but its proposed targeting pod faces competition from Rafael of Israel, with its Litening, and from GEC-Marconi, which is offering its TIALD.

The targeting pod is intended primarily for Singapore's planned tandem-seat F-16Ds, which will have a mission-configured rear cockpits.

The Singapore air force hopes to arm the aircraft with the Texas Instruments Paveway III laser-guided bomb, but its purchase has not yet been approved by the US Government.

Source: Flight International