SINGAPORE --- There is “enough of a runway” for any technical glitches on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets to be solved before they are delivered to Singapore around 2030 — assuming the sale is approved, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has said.
“Just by the sheer number of orders that are already placed and… will have to be delivered, the glitches will have to be solved and will be solved,” Dr Ng told reporters last Friday (June 28) at an interview in Murai Camp to mark Singapore Armed Forces Day, which falls on Monday.
The jet’s safety has been in the spotlight after a crash earlier this year, and reports of glitches and flaws that could risk pilot safety and hamper mission success.
In April, a Japanese F-35A aircraft — one of three variants of the F-35 — crashed into the Pacific Ocean during a training mission, prompting Japan to ground its fleet temporarily.
Separately, flaws with the jet reportedly included pressure increases in the cockpit — the compartment where the pilot sits — causing pain in the ear and sinus.
Singapore’s Defence Ministry (Mindef) — which plans to buy four F-35 aircraft, with the option for another eight — said in the wake of the Japanese plane crash that it would ensure the F-35 was “safe to operate” before acquiring it.
Asked how Mindef would further allay public concerns over the jet’s safety, Dr Ng said on Friday: “We were in touch with the agencies and authorities to have a good analysis.
“But assuming that we get approval for the F-35s, you are talking about a delivery in the 2030 timeframe. So that is enough of a runway for technical glitches to be solved.” (end of excerpt)
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