Pentagon delays F-35 full-rate production decision by 13 months

by Pat Host

The Pentagon is delaying the full-rate production (FRP) decision for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) owing to a lack of progress with the Joint Simulation Environment (JSE) that will test the aircraft against high-end threats that it cannot replicate on the range.

Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S), told reporters on 18 October that this announcement means the FRP decision will not be made in December, as originally anticipated, but instead potentially in December 2020 or January 2021.

Delays developing the JSE forced the Pentagon to delay its F-35 FRP decision by 13 months. (US Air Force)

Delays developing the JSE forced the Pentagon to delay its F-35 FRP decision by 13 months. (US Air Force)

Dan Grazier, military fellow with the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) watchdog group in Washington, DC, told Jane’s on 18 October that range restrictions prevent the F-35 from being tested against very high-end missions such as super dense, highly-integrated air defence networks. In theory, he said, the Pentagon should be able to replicate these missions in the simulator. Grazier said the Pentagon must have a properly functioning JSE to complete initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E), which is required to properly inform the FRP decision.


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Ukraine conflict: Czech agreement to defend Slovakian airspace paves way for MiG transfer to Ukraine

by Gareth Jennings

With the Czech Republic set to provide air defence cover for its neighbour, Slovakia is in a position to transfer its MiG-29s (pictured) to Ukraine. (Slovakian Air Force)

The Czech Air Force (Vzdusné Sily Armády Ceské Republiky: VSACR) is set to protect the airspace of its Slovakian neighbour in a move that could clear the latter to transfer its much-needed MiGs to Ukraine.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala made the disclosure on national TV on 3 July, saying that, from September Saab Gripen C fighters of the VSACR will perform air-defence duties across the airspace of Slovakia. Speaking at the same time, Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger said that the offer from the Czech government would provide a stopgap between the Slovak Air Force (Vzdušné sily Slovenskej Republiky: VSR) retiring its MiG-29s and receiving the first Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons on order, at the same time enabling the transfer of the MiGs to Ukraine.


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Slovakia expects to start receiving CV90 IFVs within three years

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The Slovak government approved the procurement of 152 CV90 MkIV tracked IFVs with 35 mm guns on 28 June. (Slovak MoD)

Slovakia expects to receive its first CV90 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) within three years, subject to the results of negotiations of the government-to-government contract with Sweden, the Slovak Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Janes on 4 July. The Slovak government approved the procurement of 152 CV90 MkIV IFVs with 35 mm guns on 28 June.

The proposed timeline of deliveries is from the second quarter of 2025 to the third quarter of 2028, according to a May 2022 feasibility study by the ministry on the procurement of tracked armoured vehicles. The study rated CV90s armed with 30 mm and 35 mm guns above the General Dynamics European Land Systems-Santa Bárbara Sistemas ASCOD proposed by Spain and the Rheinmetall Landsysteme Lynx KF41F proposed by Hungary. In early 2022 Slovakia held trials of the three contenders to replace its BMP IFVs at the Military Technical and Testing Institute (VTSÚ) in Záhorie.


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Myanmar MiG-29 violates Thai airspace

by Akhil Kadidal

Thailand scrambled two F-16s after a Myanmar MiG-29 violated Thai airspace on 30 June 2022. (Janes/Kelvin Wong)

A cross-border violation by a Myanmar Air Force military aircraft engaged in military operations on 30 June prompted a scramble by Thai fighter jets.

According to air force spokesperson Air Vice Marshal Prapas Sonjaidee, two F-16s were scrambled after a Thai radar detected an aircraft in Thai airspace close to the border with Myanmar.

The incident occurred at “about 1106 [h] local time at Phop Phra, Tak province,” AVM Sonjaidee told Janes. He added that the border was violated while the aircraft was attacking an ethnic armed group along the border.

According to the spokesperson, the aircraft, identified as a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 fighter, spent no more than two minutes in Thai airspace. The airspace violation was prompted by weather and a large hill in the area, AVM Sonjaidee told Janes.

Thai media reported that the low-flying aircraft caused panic in two Thai villages near the border. Multiple types of aircraft appear to have been involved in the attack on the ethnic group.


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The Pentagon is delaying the full-rate production (FRP) decision for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightn...

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