Lockheed to supply jets to Singapore in dollars 900m deal

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

LOCKHEED, the US defence manufacturer, has won a contract to sell advanced combat aircraft to Singapore in a deal estimated to be worth as much as dollars 900m (pounds 584.6m).

The Singapore Ministry of Defence will buy 18 F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, to be built at Lockheed's factory in Fort Worth, Texas.

Singapore already has the F-16 in its air force, which gave Lockheed an advantage in the bidding for the contract, but it still had to beat off a strong challenge from McDonnell Douglas.

Last year, Singapore informed the US government that it would consider the F/A-18 attack jet, manufactured by McDonnell Douglas, as a possible alternative to buying more F-16s.

The basic F-16 aircraft is typically valued at about dollars 20m, but spare parts, weapon systems and training agreements could increase the cost to Singapore to as much as dollars 900m.

Lockheed is based in Calabasas, California, and has a backlog of 540 orders for the F-16, mostly to foreign governments, including an order for 40 aircraft from Turkey earlier this year.

Business, however, has not been so good at home.

The F-16 is the mainstay fighter of the US Air Force, but new orders have been relatively scarce because the US government has been cutting back on its defence spending.