The Singapore Ministry of Defence and the United States Department of Defense signed a Letter of Intent this morning to mark Singapore’s intention to participate in the System Design and Development Phase of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme. The arrangement provides an early opportunity to assess the JSF’s ability to meet the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s operational requirements. Singapore will have insights into the JSF’s development progress and be able to conduct studies for integration of Singapore’s requirements into the JSF. As an SCP, Singapore can also request early purchase of the JSF for delivery from 2015 onwards and will probably replaces the F-16 by 2020.
Photo Credit: Flickr.
Factsheet – The Joint Strike Fighter
The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme originated from two separate programmes – the United States Air Force/Navy Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST), and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter (CALF) projects of early 1990s. The projects merged in 1994 and the programme was renamed Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in 1995. In Oct 2001, Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to build the JSF, also designated as the F-35.
The JSF is a supersonic multi-role stealth fighter designed to carry new generation of advanced weapons. It has a fully integrated weapon system that allows the JSF pilots to locate, identify and precisely strike mobile targets in any kind of environment. It is also designed to ensure enhanced combat survivability through radio frequency/infrared signature reduction and on-board countermeasures.
The JSF is also designed to minimise costs of production, operation and maintenance. The JSF will cost 40%-50% less to operate than the current generation advanced fighter aircraft.
There are 3 main variants: the F-35A Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL 10.7m wing span 1092km combat radius), the F-35B Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL 10.7m wing span 833km combat radius), and the F-35C Carrier Based (CV wider 13.1m wing span 1111km combat radius).
The F-35 is designed to replace ageing fighter inventories in the US Armed Forces, such as the US Air Force F-16s and US Navy F/A-18s. Currently, production of more than 3000 F-35s are being planned for the US and UK.
Engine: Pratt & Whitney F135 or General Electric F136
Thrust: 40,000 lbs
Maximum Speed: Mach 1.8
JSF Development Program
The JSF will be developed through collaboration between the US and several countries, including UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands and Turkey. Each partnering country has an integrated office staff within the JSF Program.
The JSF programme is currently at the System Development and Demonstration phase. This involves the development and testing of the entire aircraft system, including its manufacture, and will span about 10 years. The initial flight of the first pre-production JSF, the conventional takeoff and landing variant, is scheduled for the third quarter of 2005. The US Air Force plans to take delivery of its first batch of F-35s in 2008 (delayed to 2011).