F-35A Cleared for Service with 34th Fighter Squadron | KAI CEO Bets His Job on T-50A | NK’s Ballistic Missile Traveled 1000km to Japanese Waters
- It’s been a long time coming, but the F-35A has been cleared for service by the US Air Force’s Air Combat Command (ACC). As a result, the 34th Fighter Squadron of the 388th Fighter Wing has the honor of being the first unit declared operational. This follows the F-35B squadron which was passed for combat back in July 2015.
- The Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor missile has successfully completed an engineering demonstration for the US Army’s Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center’s Extended Area Protection and Survivability program. Designed by Lockhhed Martin, the testing was to prove the munition’s agility and aerodynamic capability. At 3 feet in length and 8 pounds in weight, MHTK aims to provide the Army with a cost and logistically effective way to defeat rocket, artillery and mortar threats.
Middle East North Africa
- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $58 million contract to enhance Qatari and Saudi Patriot missile systems. Work to be undertaken in the deal involves modifications of the Patriot’s segment enhancement software. This will contribute to an entire system’s situational awareness by transmitting precision cueing data to other theater elements while simultaneously protecting against short-range ballistic missile, large-caliber rockets and air-breathing threats.
- Iraqi security forces want to expand their security in Baghdad and counter unmanned aircraft threats from the Islamic State. The recommendations come on the back of a trip to the country by Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency (JIDA) director, Lt. Gen. Michael Shields, who was sent to determine how the Pentagon might be able to help the government in Iraq stabilize and secure Baghdad. Efforts already in place to ease UAV threats in Iraq include the Pentagon requesting an additional $20 million from Congress to address the issue.
- Poland has expressed an interest in expanding industrial ties with France and Germany. Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz made the statement in relation to increasing local defense work and may include partnership on a new tank build program. While further details of any formal negotiations have not been released, any program would go towards Poland’s shift away from its older Soviet-era hardware towards Western gear.
- Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) CEO Ha Sung-young is so confident in their T-50A, that he will resign if the trainer is not selected for the USAF’s ongoing T-X competition. The bold statement was made in front of 39 executives attending an executive strategy meeting held at LIG’s Sacheon Training Institute in Gyeongnam Province. Ha’s bet is said to be backed up by T-X partner Lockheed Martin making a clean sweep of contracts recently in the US.
- The Philippine Air Force is set to beef up their attack helicopter capabilities as the service also bulks up munitions with purchases of South Korean Blue Shark light anti-submarine torpedos. Known as the Flight Plan 2028 initiative, the new procurements will add to 12 MD-50s and eight AW-109s. PAF usually implement attack helicopters for clearing and pursuit operations.
- In the latest salvo of sabre rattling on the Korean Peninsula, a North Korean ballistic missile landed in Japanese territorial waters. The launch saw a Rondong missile travel 1,000km, and marks the furthest a North Korean missile has traveled in a year which has seen a gradual continuation of testing. While natural condemnation came from the usual quarters of Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul, Pyongyang hit back at the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea.
The F-35A’s road to USAF IOC:
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