On August 22/05, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the public of a possible Foreign Military Sale [PDF] to Singapore of advanced ordnance, plus logistics, training support, and associated equipment and services for F-15 aircraft. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $741 million.
This is interesting, because Singapore does not currently fly F-15 aircraft (it flies F-16s, F/RF-5s, and A-4SUs). The F-15E Strike Eagle was named to an April 2005 shortlist with Dassault’s Rafale for Singapore’s $1 billion A-4SU fighter replacement contract, and closer U.S. military ties in recent years are expected to give the F-15E a slight edge. Indeed, the recently-retired head of U.S. Pacific Command was honored at almost the same time with Singapore’s Meritorious Service Medal – Military.
The natural question is whether the Government of Singapore has made, or is very close to making, a decision regarding its future fighter purchase.
The proposed deal also highlights other trends.
The equipment requested by Singapore was diverse, but many are among the most advanced in the U.S. arsenal. These weapons themselves are not definitive with respect to the fighter contract, however, as all of them could also be carried by F-16s.
* 24 Link 16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System/Low Volume Terminals (Fighter Data Link Terminals); see this DID article for an explanation of this important piece of equipment, and note that the upcoming fighter contract is for around 20 planes.
* 200 AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and 6 CATM-120C AMRAAM Captive Air Training (CAT) Missiles. The AIM-120C is America’s most advanced medium range air-air missile.
* 200 AIM-9X Sidewinder Missiles; and 24 AIM-9X Sidewinder Captive Air Training and Dummy Missiles. The AIM-9X is the most recent version of the short range Sidewinder air-air missile, and it has just started to enter service with U.S. fighters. It was designed to be competitive with missiles like the British ASRAAM, French Mica, Russian AA-11, German/European IRIS-T, and Israeli Python 4.
* 50 MK-82 GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) w/BLU-111 warhead; plus 100 KMU-556 GBU-31 JDAM Tail Kit Assemblies, that can turn regular bombs into Global Positioning System guided JDAMs.
* 30 AGM-154A-1 Joint Standoff Weapons, and 30 AGM-154C Joint Standoff Weapons. JSOW are GPS-guided glide bombs with a range of 15-70 km. The AGM-154A-1 variant’s 500 lb. BLU-111 warhead eliminates the unexploded ordnance concerns of the AGM-154A anti-tank/ anti-personnel BLU-97 cluster munitions. The AGM-154C or JSOW-C variant, meanwhile, incorporates an imaging infrared seeker for high precision and a Broach multi-stage warhead with both blast-fragmentation and hard target penetration capability.
* 44 AN/AVS-9 (V) Night Vision Goggles.
* 300,000 20mm Practice Round Cartridges. Note that the Rafale uses a 30mm cannon, but F-16s and F-5s both use 20mm Vulcan cannon.
* 4 MK-82 and MK-84 “dumb” bomb practice trainers
The principal contractors will be Raytheon Missile System Corporation of Tucson, AZ and Boeing Integrated Defense Solutions of St. Louis, MO. There will be up to 10 U.S. Government personnel and 10 contractor representatives for two-week intervals annually to participate in program management and technical reviews, and there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
With these weapons, Singapore continues its military modernization by adding transformational communications and precision strike capabilities. It also enhances its interoperability with both the USA and Australia, whose military cooperation have become more important as pan-Islamic movements target the regions and pirate activities continue to rise around the Straits of Malacca. The DSCA also noted that:
“Singapore has requested a competition between U.S. contractors and foreign competitors for an aircraft program. If Singapore selects the F-15 aircraft, the aircraft and engines will be purchased commercially, for which there would be an eventual 36(c) notification of the commercial sale. This proposed sale includes the weapons and logistics support for the F-15 aircraft.”
In response to queries on Aug 24/05, Singapore’s Defense Ministry said that is still evaluating U.S. and French fighter jets and has yet to choose either of them for upgrading the country’s warplanes.
See DID’s overview for more background on Singapore’s $1 billion fighter contract and why it’s significant.
In a subsequent communication, Singapore’s MINDEF Public Affairs has noted that similar requests were made of both bidders re: compatible equipment. No date has been offered by the government re: a final decision.
* DID (Sept 7/05) – Singapore’s RSAF Decides to Fly Like an Eagle
Additional Readings & Sources
* DSCA Notification (Aug 23/05) – Singapore – Weapons and Logistics/ Training Support for F-15 Aircraft
* DID (April 22/05) – Singapore Drops Eurofighter from Critical Contract
* Designation Systems – AGM-154 JSOW
* Armada – Accurate Predators With A Mind of Their Own. Good overview of the entire field of powered and unpowered precision-guided winged weapons like the JSOW.
* Boeing – JDAM
* Designation Systems – AIM-120 AMRAAM
* GlobalSecurity.org – AIM-9X Sidewinder
* ITT Industries – AN/AVS-9
* Japan Today (Aug 25/05) – Singapore says it is still evaluating U.S., French fighter jets
* Singapore Ministry of Defence (Aug 24/05) – Former Commander of United States Pacific Command Receives Prestigious Military Award. “The Meritorious Service Medal (Military) was awarded to Admiral (Retd) Fargo, who was Commander of the United States Pacific Command from May 2002 to February 2005, in recognition of his outstanding role in fostering closer ties between the United States Pacific Command and the Singapore Armed Forces…”
* The Fourth Rail (april 27/05) – Of Pirates and Terrorists
* St Louis Post Dispatch (July 31/05) – Boeing’s F-15 Tries to Stay Aloft
* DID (June 16/05) – Dassault Discusses Global Fighter Market to 2015