The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, or DSCA, said
Singapore had requested an upgrade of 60 aging F-16 jets built by
Lockheed Martin Corp <LMT.N> to improve their reliability and
effectiveness in combat.
U.S. lawmakers generally have 30 days to block a sale, although such
action is rare.
Lockheed, which built the original F-16s, and BAE Systems Plc <BAES.L>,
a key supplier and subcontractor, are increasingly focused on
capturing upgrade orders given reductions in U.S. and European
In its notification to Congress, DSCA did not name a prime
contractor for the Singapore F-16 upgrades, and officials at the
DSCA could not be reached for immediate comment on whether there
would be an open competition or a sole source award.
Lockheed said it hoped to win the order. "Lockheed Martin has
partnered with Singapore on the F-16 program for more than 25 years
and we look forward to continuing to support them in the future,"
said spokesman Michael Rein.
But BAE is pressing for an open competition, arguing that it can
carry out upgrades to existing F-16s for less cost.
Last year, BAE finalized a deal worth over $1 billion to upgrade
over 130 South Korean F-16 fighters, and the company is seeking
additional orders in Europe and Asia.
"We want to be considered as a competitor for Singapore's F-16
upgrade program and look forward to further discussions with them to
support and deliver F-16 upgrade solutions tailored to their
requirements," said BAE spokesman Neil Franz.
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"Our team is very interested in this pursuit and would like to see
an open competition," he said, noting that BAE provides about 40
percent of the mission equipment for current F-16s.
DSCA said the upgrades would give Singapore's F-16 fleet 70 advanced
radar systems, new global positioning system (GPS) equipment, better
"friend or foe" identification systems and an array of newer
weapons, including laser-guided bombs.
Singapore continues to consider the purchase of F-35 fighter jets,
also built by Lockheed.
DSCA said the proposed F-16 upgrade would contribute to U.S. foreign
policy and national security by increasing Singapore's ability to
maintain regional security.
"The improved capability, survivability, and reliability of newly
upgraded F-16s will enhance the Republic of Singapore Air Force's
ability to defend its borders and contribute to coalition operations
with other allied forces," it said.
(Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)
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