June 30, 2016
With Congress expected to receive a report at year-end on the cost for potentially re-starting the F-22 production line, comparisons between the F-22 and F-35 have inevitably cropped up - with air-to-air performance being the obvious advantage for the F-22 and cost being the obvious disadvantage.
Faced with delays in updates to the Martin-Baker ejection seat which equips the F-35 - updates needed to make the ejection system safe for lighter-weight pilots - the U.S. Air Force is reportedly examining alternative ejection seat suppliers. The United Technologies ACES 5 ejection seat has been named as an alternative contendor.
The F-35 reportedly scored an 8:0 kill ratio during training engagements involving F-15E adversaries. Details surrounding the engagements, however, have not been released.
Turkey's president has issued an apology to Russia for shooting down a Russian fighter that was deployed to Syria in November of 2015. Despite the apology, however, Turkey has declined to reimburse Russia for the cost of the downed aircraft or for the death of its pilot.
Russian air operations continue in Syria, where a Russian air strike on a jihadist-held town in eastern Syria reportedly killed 47 this past week, 31 of them civilians. Russian operations have been repeatedly criticized for their failure to use precision-guided munitions, relying instead on unguided bombs released from high altitude, and for targeting anti-government Syrian rebels rather than focusing exclusively on ISIS targets.
The Japanese government has issued a formal Request for Information on its future fighter options for replacing the Japanese-produced F-2 sometime in the post-2025 time frame.
The U.S. Air Force is launching the next phase in its next-generation fighter engine development effort, in the form of the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP). AETP will comprise two #1 billion contracts, one each for GE Aircraft and Pratt & Whitney to develop a variable cycle demonstrator engine. The program is aimed at delivering improved fighter fuel performance and range in the mid-2020 time frame.