Asia Defense

US Approves New Deal for Singapore’s F-16 Upgrades

State Department clears fresh sales for a critical strategic partner in the Asia-Pacific.

Prashanth Parameswaran
US Approves New Deal for Singapore’s F-16 Upgrades
Credit: Flickr/Garry Wilmore

Last week, the U.S. State Department approved the potential sale of components and logistical support for Singapore’s F-16 Block 52 upgrade program in a deal worth around $130 million.

The approval was part of several deals that the State Department cleared for U.S. allies and partners in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific. As I pointed out in an earlier piece (see: US Approves New Missile Deals for Indonesia, Malaysia), as U.S. law requires, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the certification notifying Congress of the potential Foreign Military Sale (FMS), which will then have to be approved before the deals are agreed with the involvement of companies and the partner or ally in question.

According to a statement by DSCA, Singapore requested the possible sale to help upgrade 60 F-16 combat aircraft in its fleet. The upgrades, the DSCA notes, would “address reliability, supportability, and combat effectiveness concerns associated with its aging F-16 fleet.” Components approved for the sale include 50 joint helmet-mounted cueing systems, 90 AN/APX-126 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe Interrogator/Transponders, and 150 LAU-129 missile launchers. They also include global positioning system/inertial navigation systems and other associated repair, support, and personnel training.

The proposed sale is in addition to the $2.43 billion package first announced by the DSCA in January last year. Together, they would help Singapore modernize as well as extend the lifespan of its F-16 fleet. Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen first announced the country’s plans to upgrade its F-16s in parliament back in 2013.

There are several principal contractors for the sale, including Raytheon, BAE Advanced Systems and Lockheed Martin. The sale does not include any known offset agreements, and its implementation will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. government or contractor representatives to Singapore.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

According to a standard statement by the DSCA outlining the sale’s impact, the proposed sale contributes to U.S. interests by increasing the ability of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to defend the country’s borders, contribute to coalition operations and support regional security. Singapore is referred to as a “strategic partner which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region.”