AFP, SINGAPORE: Singapore has formally joined the US-led Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, making it the first Asian nation to take part in the development of what is possibly the world's most advanced combat jet, the government said Tuesday.
A Letter of Offer and Acceptance to take part in the program was signed recently in Singapore and comes more than a year after the city-state signed a letter of intent, the ministry of defence said in a statement.
Taking part in the JSF program will allow Singapore, considered by military experts to have the most modern army in Southeast Asia, access to details for evaluating the upgrading needs of its air force, it said.
“Singapore will have insights into the JSF's development progress and be able to conduct studies for integration of Singapore's requirements into the JSF,” the ministry of defence said.
As a Security Cooperation Participant to the program, Singapore also has the privilege of asking for early purchase of the JSF for delivery from 2012 onwards.
Singapore has said that the fighter, also known as the F35, was a potential candidate to meet its longer-term needs as the city-state seeks to replace its fleet of ageing A4 Super Skyhawk and F5 Tiger fighters in the next decade.
The US government appointed defence contractor Lockheed Martin to build the F35 and other nations participating in the JSF program include Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey.