September 10, 2015
The first F-35 to be assembled overseas took flight in Italy this week. Aircraft AL-1 took to the skies for a 22-minute flight at Italy's Cameri Air Base.
Concerns continue to be raised regarding the ability of the supplier base to support the planned increase in F-35 production over the next three years. The F-35 is expected to ramp up from some 40 airplanes this year to more than 120 per year three years from now.
French officials are optimistic about the prospects for a sale of Rafale fighters to Malaysia. Malaysia is currently looking to purchase 18 fighters to replace its MiG-29 fleet.
News sources are suggesting that the final details surrounding France's planned sale of 36 Rafale fighters to India have still not been ironed out, despite a visit to India by French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
As part of the F-22's first European deployment, two Raptors were deployed this past week to Estonia to take part in military training maneuvers, providing air cover for A-10 Warthogs.
New details are beginning to emerge surrounding the USAF's LRS-B strategic bomber program. A winner for the coveted contract is expected to be announced in October, with competing proposals submitted by both Boeing/Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. The program is expected to cost $41.7 billion over the next ten years - assuming that there are no cost overruns - making it a potential budget-buster for other programs competing for funding during that time period.