February 12, 2016
The US Air Force is contemplating a delay in declaring Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the F-35, due to issues with the airplane's complex software. IOC is scheduled to be announced in August of 2016. Currently the airplane's software suite needs to be rebooted once every four hours, and there are also faults in the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) that is expected to manage the airplane's maintenance and spares schedule.
The Pentagon has revealed a new funding profile that would cut twenty F-35 fighters from the procurement package over the next five years, to make room for other priorities such as air refueling tankers and the development of a new bomber. As proposed, the reduced fighter buy would eventually be made up in later years.
The U.S. Navy is seeking an additional 16 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to maintain fleet strength, in response to the proposed slow-down in F-35 deliveries.
A first batch of European-built, advanced short-range air-to-air missiles (ASRAAM) have been delivered to the U.S. for flight tests aboard the UK's F-35B fighters.
A high-level Russian delegation has arrived in India to continue talks on developing an Indian derivative of the PAK-FA stealth fighter now under development. India has already contributed $290 million towards the program, but additional funding has been put on hold over cost and performance concerns surrounding the program.
Israel's Rafael is expected to receive a $500 million contract to supply Litening targeting pods and Spice 250 precision-guided bombs to India.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has unveiled a suite of new technologies slated for flight test aboard its X-2 prototype, including a new radar-absorbing carbon-fiber composite, and an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
Japan's X-2 fighter demonstrator began taxi tests this past week, in preparation for first flight later this month.