December 4, 2015
In response to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, British Prime Minister David Cameron has obtained permission from Parliament for RAF air strikes to be extended to Syria. Up until the recent terror attacks, the British Parliament had resisted widening the British anti-ISIS campaign beyond Iraq. Shortly after the vote by Parliament, RAF Tornado fighter-bombers staged their first raids in Syria.
In a recent interview U.S. Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reinforced his view that the current, official Pentagon proposals for purchasing over 2,000 F-35 fighters was unrealistic and unaffordable. His comments came on the heels of a Pentagon announcement that the Fiscal Year 2017 defense proposal is likely to see a reduction in the planned buy of F-35 fighters.
Italy has formally taken delivery of the first F-35 to be assembled outside of the United States.
Officials in Japan continue to report that their Advanced Technology Demonstrator, or ATD-X, is on-track to achieving its first flight next year. The ATD-X is a subscale, technology demonstrator, expected to learn-out the technologies required to produce a new stealth fighter.
Turkey has selected BAE Systems to assist in the next phase of integration and design for its indigenous stealth fighter program, known as the TFX. The next series of studies are expected to continue where the previous round of concept studies, carried out in cooperation with Saab, left off.
Despite the U.S. refusal to share certain sensitive technologies with South Korea - including AESA radar technology from the F-35 - U.S. officials maintain that they are willing to assist South Korea in developing its own, lightweight stealth fighter - if that is the path that the Korean government chooses. The U.S. had previously allowed Lockheed Martin to assist in the development of Korea's T-50 trainer and FA-50 lightweight fighter.