May 26, 2016
Testing for the F-35's production-standard, Block 3F software is currently about a year behind schedule, with final testing expected to be completed sometime in 2018. This delay will likely postpone the airplane's planned production ramp-up.
The first two Dutch F-35s touched down in the Netherlands for the first time this week.
A third Australian F-35 pilot has completed his qualification training to fly the F-35.
The U.S. DoD is investigating the "unsafe" intercept last week of a U.S. surveillance plane by two Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea. U.S. officials report that two Chinese J-11 (Su-27) fighters intercepted the EP-3 Aries aircraft in international air space, coming so close that the U.S. pilot had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
A new report on the "Dynamics of International Military Modernization" suggests that a growing push to develop domestic defense industries is likely to cut into U.S. and European global weapons sales during the next decade - citing emerging industrial powers in South Korea and Brazil among the new competitors.
South Korea is close to down-selecting between the Eurojet EJ200 and GE's F414 engine to power the Korean Fighter Experimental (KFX) stealth fighter program currently in the early stages of development.
In the latest turn in a prolonged saga, France has reportedly refused to provide government-guaranteed loans to fund the proposed sale of 36 Rafale fighters to India, potentially putting the sale in jeopardy.
President Obama announced that the U.S. would be lifting its previous weapons embargo against Vietnam during a state visit this past week, leading to speculation that the communist government might soon be requesting F-16 fighters and P-3 Orion anti-submarine warfare aircraft, as it seeks to strengthen its defenses in the shadow of its Chinese neighbor.