Thursday, July 10, 2008

Washington (ANTARA News/Reuters) - Singapore has shown interest in possibly buying up to 100 of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft over coming decades, matching Israel's tentative plans, the general in charge of the program
for the Pentagon said on Monday.

Separately, the eight countries that have joined the United States to co-develop the plane appear to be largely sticking to their plans to buy some 730 of their own, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Davis, the Pentagon's program chief.

"The Israelis have said they'd take up to 100 aircraft," he said in an interview. "The Singaporeans have said basically the same thing." Embassy spokesmen of the two countries had no immediate comment.

Development of the F-35, a family of radar-evading aircraft, was co-financed by Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway.

The United States currently plans to buy a total of 2,443 F-35 models -- including 1,763 for the U.S. Air Force and 680 for the Marine Corps and Navy together. It is the costliest U.S. arms program ever at a projected $299 billion.

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