The Singaporeans are extremely shy about declaring their intentions in public, eager to offer few chances for China and Malaysia to react, but two sources familiar with the program confirmed the likely announcement. Given Singapore's tiny size its choice of which of the three F-35 versions to buy is not surprising. A plane that can take off almost vertically and can land vertically is able to operate from a much smaller footprint than, say the F-35A (the Air Force version) or F-16 Block 60s. And, given Singapore's geography, the F-35B makes great sense for its ability to operate closely with the US Marines -- as well as with F-35Cs operating from our aircraft carriers.
The Singaporeans decision will eventually leave China -- and Russia, still something of a Pacific power -- facing 50 to 100 Australian F-35As, 42 F-35As in Japan, 75Bs in Singapore and however many of the three versions built and fielded by the Untied States are regularly in the Pacific. Then consider the F-35, which offers the first true integrated global supply chain for a major weapon system and offers highly classified capabilities which America had previously not made available to allies.
But the underlying reason for the choice of Singapore and the other Pacific countries may be found in the conclusion of these countries about the F-35's effectiveness. One senior official from the region, who has access to the most sensitive classified information about the system, told me recently that the F-35 is "simply undefeatable."
Seems that the people "in the know" are very impressed with this aircraft and its capabilities. Much to the chagrin of the F35's critics who make a living thrashing the thing for every minor detail.....