At the dawn of the 21st century, Singapore decided that it needed a new aircraft to replace its often-upgraded A-4SU Super Skyhawks. This was hardly surprising; John McCain had been flying an older model A-4 Skyhawk when he was shot down during the Vietnam War. The decision to require a twin-engine aircraft eliminated the JAS-39 Gripen and F-16E/F Block 60 from the competition, and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Sukhoi Su-30 family were also scratched. That left just 3 finalists: Boeing’s F-15 Strike Eagle, France’s Rafale, and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Limited air-to-ground capabilities and a slow upgrade schedule splashed the Eurofighter, leaving just 2 contenders still flying.
September 2005 releases tapped Boeing as the winner, and the deal was done in December 2005. The order eventually rose to 24 planes, which was good news for Boeing: Singapore’s F-15SGs, and South Korea’s 2 F-15K orders, kept the assembly line open long enough for a huge win in Saudi Arabia, and more orders from Asia. Singapore has legitimate grounds to argue that they currently fly the world’s most advanced version of the F-15 Strike Eagle, and they recently decided to buy more, instead of ordering the short-takeoff F-35B stealth fighter.