F-35 aircraft (Source: Lockheed Martin) 
 
Hanoi (VNA) - Singapore has chosen the US’s F-35 warplane to replace its ageing fighter jets, its Defence Ministry said on January 18.

Accordingly, the F-16s will have to retire soon after 2030 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been identified as the most suitable replacement to maintain the Singapore Air Force capabilities.

The ministry said the air force should first buy "a small number" of F-35s for a full evaluation of their capabilities and suitability before deciding on a full fleet.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on January 18 that it took Singapore more than five years to make a decision as they had to look carefully at specifications and what was needed.

Singaporean agencies will now have to speak to their US counterparts to move the process forward, he said.

It is expected to take 9-12 months to finalise terms in the deal.

Singapore earlier said it was evaluating Lockheed Martin's F-35 along with Europe's Eurofighter Typhoon and Chinese-made stealth warplanes.

The F-35, one of the world's most advanced fighter jets, accounts for about a quarter of Lockheed Martin's total revenue.-VNA