Reportedly, Singapore will operate the F35 for the model at sea. In the world itself, until now there will be four marine users for the F-35B variant, namely England, Italy, South Korea and Japan. And now Singapore is following.
British Carrier Strike Group (CSG) has achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in December 2020. Operational deployments later this year will see the Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, and ending in the Pacific (in close waters Japan). The ship will carry 24 F-35B jets, including US Marine Corps aircraft, in addition to a number of helicopters.
The Italian Navy will soon become the third “at sea” operator of the B variant after USMC and the British Royal Navy. The Italian carrier Cavour will begin qualifying for the F-35, Naval News reported recently.
South Korea started the LPX-II aircraft carrier program and has committed to buying 20 F-35Bs.
Japanese Self-Defense Forces
Two Izumo-class “helicopter destroyers” of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces (JMSDF) are being renovated to accommodate the F-35B. In addition, it was revealed that the US Marine Corps’ F-35B fighters will be the first fixed-wing aircraft to fly the Izumo class, following a Japanese government request made in March 2019.
Singapore, F-35B and JMMS
Singapore could become the fifth country to operate the F-35B at sea, as the first Southeast Asian country to launch it. “Some have requested an update on the acquisition of the F-35. We have decided on the variant of the F-35B, which can take off from a shorter runway and land vertically, and this is a rare important feature in Singapore,” said Singapore Defense Minister Dr Dr. Ng Eng Hen, currently on the Ministry of Defense Committee for the 2020 Supply Debate.
The F-35B itself demonstrated its capabilities at the Singapore Airshow recently. The fighter jet reveals its ability to rotate 360 degrees. And the F-35B is claimed to have a complete sensor and combat capability.
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