Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fighter Jet Times - November 12, 2015

November 12, 2015

Budget analysts have acknowledged that the cost of developing and procuring the newly awarded LRS-B bomber contract will likely challenge the ability of the US Air Force to procure the F-35 in the numbers proposed.

The USAF recently completed a successful AMT (accelerated mission test) of the F135 engine, accumulating 5210 cycles - the equivalent of seven years of operation.  The F135 engine powers the F-35 fighter.

The U.S. Air Force is proceeding with an upgrade program to bring its F-15C air superiority fighters into the 21st century, including a new electronically-scanned array radar, and a new electronic warfare system, as well as a communications pod that would allow the F-15C to directly exchange target data with the F-22.  The F-15Cs were originally intended to be phased out when the F-22 entered service, but too few F-22s were procured, and the Air Force is expected to be flying at least some of its F-15Cs for another twenty years.

The U.S. has deployed F-15C fighters to Turkey, to provide air cover in the event that U.S. strike aircraft operating in Syria encounter Russian fighters.

China and Pakistan have reportedly found their first export customer for the JF-17 fighter - an aircraft developed in China and largely produced in Pakistan for service in the Pakistani air force.  The deal was announced at this year's Dubai Air Show, although the customer's identity has not been revealed.

Also at this year's Dubai Air Show, China showcased its new J-31 stealth fighter, and touted it as being available for export - although unit costs and delivery dates were not disclosed.  The J-31 is the smaller of two Chinese developed stealth fighters now in flight test.

The Philippine Air Force is expected to receive its first two, out of twelve FA-50 fighter jets on order.  The FA-50 is produced in South Korea, and features a U.S.-supplied General Electric F404 engine.  It was developed with assistance from Lockheed Martin as a smaller, shorter-range alternative to Lockheed's F-16 fighter.

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