November 3, 2016
The Department of Defense has concluded negotiations with Lockheed Martin for the ninth low rate initial production (LRIP) batch of F-35 fighters. The contract covers the delivery of 57 additional aircraft. To close the agreement, however, the U.S. government had to exercise a unilateral contract option - a rarely used clause that automatically imposes standard terms and conditions from previous contracts to bridge remaining differences between the government and Lockheed Martin negotiating positions.
The Pentagon has notified Congress that it will require an additional $530 million in aircraft testing costs to complete the development of the F-35. The request follows the release of another memo from the Pentagon's Director of Operational Testing, recommending that "the program be restructured now."
Turkey has placed an order for a second batch of F-35 fighters, bringing its total order to 116 aircraft.
The first two F-35 fighters are expected to arrive in Israel on December 12th, with another six to be delivered in 2017, out of a total of 33 on order.
The USAF's Scientific Advisory Board is being funded to launch studies in FY 2017 to help outline the requirements for a Penetrating Counterair Aircraft, which many in the industry are already labeling as a sixth-generation fighter.
China's J-20 stealth fighter made its air show debut at this year's Zuhai Air Show, with two fighters putting on a low altitude performance. The J-20 recently entered low rate production. Also featured at the air show was the latest version of China's J-10 fighter, the J-10B.
Also on display at this year's Airshow China were the latest attempts to develop Chinese jet engines, including a display copy of the WS-10A, which is intended to eventually replace the Russian-built AL-31F engines which power China's J-10 and J-11 (Su-27) fighters.
Chinese officials accused Japan of engaging in "unprofessional, dangerous provocative behavior" during the intercept of Chinese warplanes over the East China Sea.
India's government has set a goal to procure up to 200 single-engine fighters in an effort to recapitalize its air force fleet. The F-16 and Sweden's Gripen are both expected to be entries in the new competition.
Responding to Russian press reports suggesting that a deal for Indian procurement of Russia's 5th generation stealth fighter, the PAK-FA, was imminent, Indian officials have cautioned that terms for a final arrangement have not yet been closed.