Thursday, February 16, 2017

Fighter Jet Times - February 16, 2017

February 16, 2017

Testing has begun at Edwards Air Force Base to certify a new suit intended to protect pilots of the F-35 under chemical and biological warfare conditions.

The unit cost of the F-35 continues to fall as expected as more aircraft are produced.

Israel's Defense Ministry reports that Israeli firms have earned work share packages worth just over $1 billion in value in connection with Israel's participation in the F-35 program.

A Japanese pilot made his first solo flight in an F-35A this past week, flying out of Luke Air Force Base.

The U.S. Air Force expects to relax its pilot weight restrictions for the F-35 in April.  The weight restrictions were invoked after testing showed that lighter weight pilots could be injured in the event of an ejection, due to the heavier weight of the F-35's helmet.  A modified ejection seat, that adjusts to the pilot's weight, has been tested to resolve the problem.

The U.S. Air Force is seeking an interim 500-lb bomb with the ability to strike moving targets for use aboard the F-35.  The Raytheon GBU-12 500-lb bomb and the GBU-38 500-lb Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) have both already been earmarked for the F-35, but neither has a moving target capability.

U.S. and Chinese military aircraft had another "unsafe" encounter this past week near disputed air space in the South China Sea.

U.S. defense officials are warning that years of budget cuts due to sequestration, combined with extensive U.S. commitments worldwide, have reduced U.S. fighter fleet readiness levels to an all time low.  On average, fewer than half of USMC F/A-18s and just over half of U.S. Navy F/A-18s are ready to fly, and fewer thatn three-quarters of U.S. Air Force fighters are available.  The rest are grounded awaiting maintenance or spares.

Sweden has launched another push to market the Saab Gripen to India, in a contest for a new single-engine fighter for the Indian Air Force that is expected to pit the Gripen against the F-16.

A Russian air strike in Syria mistakenly killed three Turkish soldiers near the Turkish-Syrian border.

Russia's PAK-FA stealth fighter is expected to fly with a new prototype engine for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2017.  All PAK-FA prototypes to date have flown with an engine derived from the same AL-31F that has powered Russia's Su-27s since the 1980s.

Israel's Elta has been contracted in a consulting role to assist in the development of an advanced radar for Korea's proposed KF-X stealth fighter.

Fifty years after the Six Day War, Israel's military archives has released a batch of recordings from the June 1967 air strikes that launched Israel's offensive against Egypt.

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