February 25, 2016
Japan announced that it had concluded ground tests of its X-2 fighter demonstrator this week, with the completion of taxi tests. The X-2, or Shinshin as it is also known, is expected to complete its first flight test any day now.
Speaking at this past week's Singapore Airshow, industry analysts have pointed out that nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, which have purchased Russian-built, Flanker fighters in the past, have shown little appetite for paying significantly more for a T-50 stealth fighter which utilizes the same radar and engines already available today on the latest Su-35 Flanker.
Despite the lack of export orders, Russia's state-run press continues to herald the virtues of the PAK-FA, recently claiming that the T-50 prototype fighter had set a new climb rate record of 384 meters per second. No explanation was provided for what conditions this climb rate was achieved under, nor what the more practical "time to altitude" statistics were for the new airplane.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has reaffirmed that the F-35 program is currently on-track for achieving its cost targets and production ramp-up over the next few years.
Responding to U.S. Air Force deployment of F-22 stealth fighters over Syria during past months, critics have suggested that the F-22 was too expensive to be wasted in air-to-ground operations against poorly armed ISIS targets.
Chinese newspapers claim that during the recent deployment of U.S. F-22 fighters to South Korea, that Chinese radar stations were able to track the F-22s over the East China Sea.
Saudi Arabia has deployed F-15 fighters to Turkey as part of a series of joint military exercises that some have warned could be a prelude to Saudi intervention in Syria.
Russia has deployed an additional five MiG-29 fighters to an air base in Armenia, near the Turkish border, in an apparent response to the ongoing Turkish-Saudi military exercise.
Syrian opposition groups are claiming that Israeli fighter-bombers recently struck a shipment of Syrian missiles intended for Hezbollah, in an air strike on the outskirts of Damascus.
In response to recent reports of a pending sale of Russian Su-30 fighters to Iran, U.S. officials have emphasized that any such sale would be a violation of United Nations rulings, which prohibit the sale of heavy weapons to Iran for another five years.