September 25, 2015
As part of a build-up of Russian forces near the Syrian port city of Latakia, the Russians have deployed four Su-30 air superiority fighters, 12 Su-25 close air support jets, and 12 Su-24 long range strike jets. The aircraft are part of a 2000-man Russian contingent that has been sent to bolster the Russian-allied government of Bashar al-Assad, which has been fighting a civil war against both insurgents and ISIL for several years.
Russian sources are reporting that the developmental PAK-FA stealth fighter will join regular Russian air force fighters in military maneuvers for the first time in 2016.
Chinese interceptors performed what is being described as an "unsafe" maneuver while intercepting a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft over international waters. A similar, unsafe intercept resulted in a collision between a Chinese fighter and a U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance airplane near Hainan Island in 2001, killing the Chinese pilot and forcing the damaged U.S. airplane to make an emergency landing at a Chinese air base.
Chinese officials have revealed that they are nearing productiion for a new short-range heat-seeking missile to equip Chinese fighters. The PL-10 appears to be intended to give China a high-off-boresight dogfight missile similar in capability to the U.S. AIM-9X.
Lockheed has rolled out the first F-35 fighter destined for Norway. Norway has an open order for 52 of the fighters.
Speaking at the roll-out for the Norwegian F-35, the program's executive officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan emphasized that there was no aircraft in development anywhere today that would be "seriously competitive" against the F-35 in combat.
USAF officials have emphasized that if there is no budget passed for the 2016 Fiscal Year - forcing the Air Force to operate under a stop-gap spending measure - that the ability of the armed forces to buy new equipment would be capped at the 2015 level. This would prevent the planned production ramp-up of the F-35.
The USAF has issued an eight-page public affairs document, instructing airmen who are asked questions about the F-35 program to say "positive things" and to "debunk false narratives".
The U.S. government has blocked proposals to share sensitive technologies with Korea as part of an F-35 sale to the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). Lockheed Martin officials had previously agreed to seek U.S. permission to share AESA radar and other technologies as part of the agreement, but these options were later denied after U.S. government review. The ROKAF has an order for 40 F-35 fighters. Korea had been seeking the technologies to support its own, proposed KF-X fighter program.