Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fighter Jet Times - December 1, 2016

December 1, 2016

Israel's Cabinet has approved the procurement of an additional 17 F-35 stealth fighters, bringing their total standing order to 50 airplanes.

The compromise version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act is expected to maintain the F-35's Joint Program Office (JPO), despite language in the earlier Senate version of the bill that would have eliminated the JPO and called upon each branch of the armed forces to manage its own F-35 procurement and modernization effort.

Japan has officially taken delivery of its first F-35A stealth fighter. The airplane is expected to be deployed to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona to support Japan's training requirements.

Russia's United Engine Corporation (UEC) reports that they have performed their first successful engine start for the next generation engine that is expected to eventually power the PAK-FA stealth fighter.  Current prototypes of the PAK-FA utilize an evolved version of the AL-31F engine that originally powered the Su-27 fighter when it was introduced in the 1980s.

India has signed a $2 million consultancy deal with French engine manufacturer Safran, to provide technical assistance for a revived Kaveri fighter engine program.  The Kaveri was originally expected to power India's Tejas fighter, but after decades of development the Tejas entered production with a General Electric F404 engine.

China has reportedly tested a long range, hypersonic missile from a J-16 (Su-27 derivative) fighter, successfully shooting down a drone target.  The new missile is believed to have a range of some 300 miles - well beyond that of its counterparts in the United States or elsewhere.

Japan reports that the number of Japanese fighters that were scrambled to intercept Chinese or Russian aircraft approaching Japanese air space has doubled in 2016.

A Canadian CF-18 pilot was killed after his airplane crashed in western Canada during a training sortie.  The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Philippine Air Force has taken delivery of its first two FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea.  The FA-50 is a lightweight fighter, derived from South Korea's T-50 trainer, powered by a General Electric F404 engine.  The Philippines has an additional 10 airplanes on order.

Russia and Iran are reportedly negotiating for the delivery of Su-30 fighters to Iran.  The Iranian air force is currently equipped primarily with U.S.-made warplanes left over from the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979.  Under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which lifted most international sanctions over Iran, the arms embargo against Iran was not expected to be lifted until 2020.  Russia has already gone forward with the delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missiles, however, despite U.S. objections.

The day after ISIS elements attacked Israeli soldiers near the Golan Heights, Israel has staged an air strike on an ISIS operations center.

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