May 5, 2017
Taiwan's Ministry of Defense is expected to formally declare its intention to purchase the F-35 stealth fighter this coming July. The previous two U.S. administrations had rejected Taiwanese proposals to purchase additional warplanes. It remains to be seen as to whether the Trump administration will reverse that stance.
Israel Aircraft Industries is proposing that the IDF employ its Bedek overhaul facilities as the in-country maintenance site for Israel's F135 engines. Unlike other F-35 customers, which intend to utilize centralized regional maintenance sites, the IDF insists that it be able to maintain the F-35 - including its engines - in-country in times of war.
Israel's F-35 fighters were featured in the nation's Independence Day parade for the first time this year. Israel's first two F-35s arrived in December, and a further three were added this past month.
The Royal Air Force recently utilized this year's Atlantic Trident 17 war games, which took place in Langley, VA to experiment with how best to integrate the F-35 with its existing 4th generation fighter fleet.
The Pentagon has begun to round up interest in an international, multiyear block-buy of the F-35 stealth fighter, in an effort to lower the unit cost for the aircraft.
Russian officials announced at a recent news conference that they expect to begin flight trials for the new engine for their PAK-FA stealth fighter later this year. All PAK-FA aircraft flown to date have used derivatives of the AL-31F engine, which originally powered the Su-27 fighter in the 1980s.
Officials at China's Shenyang Aircraft Corporation have reportedly begun to market the enlarged J-31 stealth fighter, now under development, to the Chinese air force as a potential replacement for China's J-10 fighter - produced by the competing Chengdu design bureau. The Chinese armed forces had previously shown little interest in the J-31, which was developed as a lightweight export fighter. An enlarged version of the J-31 began flight test this past December.
North Korean officials have warned that recent over-flights of South Korea by U.S. strategic bombers, which were carried out as part of joint U.S. and South Korean military drills, were pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.