March 24, 2016
Delays in software validation for Blocks 2B and 3i for the F-35 have resulted in a four-month slip in the overall program, according to Joint Program Office (JPO) chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan. This means that full combat capability, under software Block 3F is currently not expected until late 2017.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported that "While Pratt & Whitney has implemented a number of design changes that have resulted in significant reliability improvements, the F-35A and F-35B engines are still at about 55 percent and 63 percent, respectively, of where the program expected them to be at this point."
Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works has proposed additional investments in modernize the F-22 and to purchase additional F-35 fighters, before launching a 6th generation fighter program.
Japan has opened talks with both Lockheed Martin and Boeing Corp regarding possible partnerships in the development of a new 5th generation fighter aircraft for Japan.
Russia intends to begin a formal flight test program for its MiG-35 fighter, a derivative of the 1980s era MiG-29, within the next few weeks. The first prototype MiG-35 flew in 2007. The latest deliveries, however, are expected to be production-standard examples.
Pakistan is reportedly looking to take delivery of its first J-10 fighters, as part of a deal first signed in 2009 but which has since languished as Pakistan absorbed the jointly-built JF-17 lightweight fighter. Pakistan was originally looking at a buy of 36 J-10 fighter-bombers, which have a range and payload similar to late model F-16s.