Tuesday, March 12, 2013

SAF eyeing F-35 : Excessive Defence Spending

According to a report.

Singapore is in the final stages of evaluating the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as a possible replacement for its older fighters, the defence ministry said Tuesday.

It said the F-35 was under consideration as a replacement for Singapore's F-5 fighters, which are nearing the end of their operational life, and F-16s, which are at their "midway mark".

"Though the F-35 is still in development, we are nonetheless interested in the platform for our future needs," Ng said during a debate on the national budget.

"For the longer term, the RSAF (Republic of Singapore Air Force) has identified the F-35 as a suitable aircraft to further modernise our fighter fleet. We are now in the final stages of evaluating the F-35," he said.

The single-engine fighter, which has advanced software and stealth capability, is being developed under a programme led by the United States, with eight countries helping to fund the aircraft.

Since the contract was awarded to US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin in 2001, the cost has skyrocketed and the project has been plagued with delays.

In the latest glitch, the US military last month suspended all test flights over potential engine problems after a crack was discovered on a turbine blade in one F-35 engine.

However, the Pentagon's director of the F-35 programme, Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan, dismissed any talk of foreign customers backing out.

Singapore's defence ministry "will have to be satisfied that this state-of-the-art multi-role fighter meets our long-term needs, is on track to be operationally capable, and most importantly, is a cost-effective platform," Ng said.

I do not know what Ng Eng Hen means by cost effective. A F-35 cost US$230 million. That is 5 times the cost of F-15SG, 12 times the cost of F-16 C/D, and 110 times the cost of F-5E. One need 12 F-35 to form a squadron. Over the life span of an aircraft, the maintenance and logistic support would cost the same amount or even more, as the aircraft's unit cost. That is to say, a F-35 would cost around US$500 million over its life-time, and a squadron would need US$6 billion.

For a squadron of F-35, we can buy 144 F-16 C/D, or 60 F-15SG, or 1300 F-5E. 

In addition, F-35 do not meet our requirements. Ng said that F-35 is a replacement for F-5. We are using F-5 as an interceptor. F-35 is designed as an multi-purpose combat aircraft. Hence F-35 is not a replacement for F-5. The US 5th generation air superiority fighter plane is F-22. F-22 or other air superiority fighters will be a better replacement for F-5. 

We already have the strongest air force in the region. We have 4 EL/W-2085 that could lock on to enemies' aircraft long before we are on their radar. We could easily defeat all our neighbors.

Nevertheless, I expect PAP to throw away US$6 billions to suck up US defence contractors. Meanwhile, PAP told us that we got to work to death. 

Below: Our Ah Mah can starve till death. PAP throws US$6 billions on an expensive useless toys.


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Veritas, I wrote a piece yesterday with similar thoughts. Just posted this morning.

Stealth capability is irrelevant when flying to territories that is just next door.

The aircraft is as good as the weapons system and avionics. No point having one and firing with M16. The weapons system/avionics are unlikely to be top end. The Americans are unlikely to sell them.

Anonymous said...

@"We could easily defeat all our neighbors."

Er... maybe we shouldn't say things like that, true or otherwise. We're not exactly BFF with most of our neighbours, in part I guess due to some uncontrollable motor-mouths in our employ, so yeah we bad.

Let's not create more problems. We've got enough on our plate as it is.

Just a thought, no offence meant. No need to scramble any bombers.

Veritas said...

March 13, 2013 at 3:47 PM

ty spammer

Bill Bonner said...

A stupid waste of taxpayers money!!