August 11, 2016
Congressional lawmakers have withheld $1 billion from the $5.3 billion that the Pentagon had requested for the F-35 program, until the Secretary of the Air Force is willing to certify that all necessary fixes for the aircraft will be in place within the next two years. The Congressional decision has further delayed signing for the next contract between Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Singapore has put on hold any decisions regarding whether to procure the F-35 stealth fighter. The island nation had previously inquired into the possible purchase of 12 F-35Bs.
During a four-day visit, Pakistan's Air Chief Marshall Sohail Aman recently offered to sell Kuwait the JF-17 fighter, which was developed by China and which is partially produced and assembled in Pakistan.
Satellite footage has confirmed that China has completed the construction of fortified hangars, suitable for fighter aircraft, on some of the man-made islands that were recently constructed atop coral reefs in the South China Sea. Chinese officials, meanwhile, report that China has stepped up fighter and bomber patrols in the disputed South China Sea region, "safeguarding national sovereignty, security and maritime interests."
A new study published by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) suggests that $100 billion or more could potentially be saved across the total life cycle cost for a new sixth-generation naval fighter, if an unmanned system was procured rather than a manned aircraft. The projected cost savings comes primarily from a reduction in the required number of aircraft that would need to be procured and maintained. Founded in 2007, CNAS is a Washington-based think tank that has been cited heavily by the Obama administration.