October 22, 2015
The U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force are expected to formally launch studies next year to explore alternatives for their respective 6th generation, F/A-XX and Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter programs.
Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan has confirmed that updates to the F135 engine that powers the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will have been incorporated across the entire F-35 fleet by June of next year. The updates are intended to correct a design shortfall that led to an engine fire that temporarily grounded the fleet last year.
The recent election win by Canada's Liberal Party is expected to spell the end for plans to equip the Canadian air force with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Liberal Party ran on a platform that called for the termination of Canada's planned buy of the F-35, advocating the purchase of a non-stealthy, less expensive fighter instead.
Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has called for a cut in the total number of F-35s that will eventually be purchased. Despite delays and cost overruns, the armed forces have so far been reluctant to reduce the total number of aircraft planned under the program - continuing to quote a total buy of 2,443 aircraft between the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C crashed shortly after take-off from a British Air Base at Lakenheath. The U.S. Embassy in London and USMC have confirmed the death of the pilot. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
India and France have reportedly closed on the final terms of a deal for the sale of 36 Rafale fighters to India. Under the reported terms, France will invest 50% of the contract value into related industries in India.
Japanese fighter jet scrambles to intercept Chinese aircraft approaching Japanese air space reached a record high this year during the July thru September time period, with 117 scramble alerts - up from 103 during the same period last year.
The Russian Ministery of Defense has released a video depicting the intercept of a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over Syria by a Russian Su-30 fighter.
Turkish officials have provided images of the wreckage from the drone that was shot down by Turkish aircraft late last week, after it had strayed into Turkish airspace from Syria. The wreckage appears to match the known details for the Russian-made Orlan 10 drone, although Russian officials have denied losing any aircraft in the region.