USA F 35B Bu169592 4 VMFAT 501 Beaufort 20190427 640Singapore Lightnings at Ebbing ANG base

Ebbing Air National Guard Base at Fort Smith (AR) has been selected as the preferred location for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II training detachment.

On 4 June 2021, the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) officially announced that as part of an agreement with the US Department of Defense (DoD) the RSAF will, next to the Lightning IIs, also relocate their Lockheed Martin F-16C/D detachment from the 425th Fighter Squadron Black Widows at Luke AFB (AZ) to Fort Smith.

The co-location of F-35Bs and F-16s will maximise opportunities for integrated training. The 425th FS operates twelve F-16C/D Figting Falcons.

Singapore RSAF F 16 96 5034 KLUF 05Feb14 Sander Meijering 640The new training facility will have the capacity for up to 36 fighter aircraft. Singapore has ordered four F-35Bs plus eight more as option.

In March 2019, Singapore's Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen announced that Singapore would procure four F-35 Lightning IIs for further evaluation, with an option to procure an additional eight under the same contract. At the time of the letter of request, the variant of the F-35 to be requested was not yet revealed. In January 2020, the US government approved the Singapore procurement of four F-35B Lightning IIs with the option to buy eight more of the same aircraft, as well as up to 13 engines, electronic warfare systems and related support and logistics services for USD 2.75 billion.

Photos by Hans van Herk and Sander Meijering (Scramble Archive)

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