Despite its struggles, the F-35 Lightning II is gaining traction as an export product for the US military. The Israeli Air Force has just added to its initial 2010 order, while the JSF's program chief, Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan is expecting the Republic of Singapore to place an order of its own.

The IAF, which ordered 19 planes back in 2010, has agreed to purchase 14 more planes, with the option for another 17 JSFs at a later date, US Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall announced to reporters at the IDEX defense conference in the UAE, Military.com reports. The deal is valued at roughly $3 billion.

Meanwhile, it looks like the IAF will be the only foreign F-35 operator in the Middle East, as Kendall said he didn't expect any "near-term" sales in the Gulf States. The undersecretary, according to Military.com, claims that the fighters found in Middle Eastern arsenals, like the UAE's modernized F-16s, were sufficient for the region's dangers.

As for Singapore, Lt. Gen. Bogdan indicated at the Australian International Airshow that the southeast Asian city-state that discussions had "deepened," and that "their request for information has gotten broader," Defense News reports. As Singapore hasn't commented on its purchase plans, though, it's unknown just how many it may acquire.

Should Singapore opt to buy the F-35, it'd join 12 other countries that are operating, have ordered or are planning to order the fifth-gen fighter, a list that includes staunch US allies Australia, Japan, the UK and Canada.


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