Friday, March 03, 2017

Singapore delays decision on F-35.

Thanks to William for the link!

via Bloomberg
Singapore has put on hold a decision to buy as many as 12 of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jets, according to information from the Pentagon’s program office.
The island nation’s permanent secretary of defense development informed the U.S. in mid-June that it was delaying final steps toward purchasing four of the fighters by about 2022, with an option to buy eight more, according to the information presented to Pentagon officials last month as part of their regular reviews of the costliest weapons program.
While Singapore gave no indication of when it might revive efforts to buy the F-35, the U.S. continues to encourage the Asian city-state to buy the fighter. “We welcome Singapore’s interest in purchasing the F-35 aircraft,” President Barack Obama said in opening remarks at a White House press conference last week with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
In December 2014, Singapore submitted a “letter of request” to the U.S. formally seeking information on purchasing the F-35, and it followed up in early 2015 by indicating it wanted the most complex model, the F-35B. Intended for short takeoffs and vertical landings on unimproved airstrips, the F-35B was designed for use by the U.S. Marine Corps and has already been ordered by the U.K. and Italy.
From the same article.
 Singapore has “been uncertain on the F-35 for years,” said Richard Aboulafia, a military aircraft analyst for the Teal Group in Fairfax, Virginia. “As a ‘security cooperation partner’ they were never as fully committed as the primary partners,” he said in an e-mail. “They have a large and very new fleet of F-16s and F-15s, and the threats they face don’t really call for a plane in the F-35 class” so “any F-35 sale to Singapore was viewed as a relatively long-term proposition.”
The Singapore ministry of defense said in an e-mailed statement that “as a small country with no strategic depth, Singapore will always need superior air capabilities to protect its interests and borders.” It cited a statement by the island’s defense minister in 2013 that “our current fleet of fighter aircraft are adequate for our defense needs and the F-35 is still under evaluation."
I don't know how defense reporters always seem to miss the lead in their stories.  The boilerplate about them delaying the decision isn't the real story (well kinda but we'll get back to that).

The real story is what the Ministry of Defense said.  Do you get the force of connection there?  If not then let me spell it out for ya!  The quote...
“as a small country with no strategic depth, Singapore will always need superior air capabilities to protect its interests and borders.” 
My question to you (ignore Richard's navel gazing..he's turning into an apologist for the program rather than being a defense analyst...I hope he gets well soon).  Why would a small country with no strategic depth and a desire to acquire superior air capabilities to protect itself not jump all over the F-35?  Singapore is the "Israel of the Orient".  They're a small, technologically advanced country, with a fantastic military, surrounded by sometimes hostile/belligerent neighbors and they have no strategic depth.

They're also practical as hell.

If Singapore isn't buying then they're seeing something they don't like and capabilities that are promised but not yet delivered.

Other nations will be paying attention and they will take notice.

The last thing that should be noticed by my readers is the date of this delay.  The Singaporean Ministry of Defense notified the program office in mid-June of their decision.  We're only hearing about this now.  The JSF Program Office is deceitful, manipulative and untruthful in their dealings with the media/public. How I wish we had defense reporters that knew enough about basic issues to ask simple stuff like...hey General, why the fuck did it take your office so long to inform the public of this news?....ya know...simple questions that even a blogger could think to ask! 

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