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U.S. State Dept approves sale of F-35B jets to Singapore worth $2.75 bln - agency

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SINGAPORE, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of up to 12 F-35B fighter jets and related equipment to Singapore at an estimated cost of $2.75 billion, pending approval from Congress, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on Friday.

The Asian city-state said last year it planned buy an initial four F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp , with an option for eight more, as it looks to replace its ageing F-16 fleet.

With Southeast Asia's largest defence budget, wealthy Singapore is a key prize for global arms companies as it looks to invest in new technology and upgrade its equipment. (Reporting by John Geddie and Aradhana Aravindan Editing by Robert Birsel)