Two pieces of news dealing with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
With China's increased military buildup, countries are looking harder at the progress being made with the F-35 test program. And in light of the recent release of information covering China's new J-20 "Fifth Generation" jet fighter. A stealthy, radar-eluding high end fighter aircraft. (F-35B picture shows aircraft in SVTOL mode. Smaller picture shows the J-20 in flight).
Lochkeed Martin's Tom Burbage, the general manager of the F-35 program; said that China's J-20 progress has created a "Stronger sense of urgency" throughout the Asian-Pacific region about air force modernization. Japan, South Korea, Singapore are indiscussions with U.S. government over the future of the F-35 and their purchase of the F-35.
The other bit of news was the progress the F-35B was finally making in the SVTOL flight test program. The F-35A and C models test flight program has been making better progress than the Marine's Harrier replacment. Test between January 6 and the 13th are among the 42 expected test flights that must be completed before the F-35B can be tested at sea on a amphibious assault ship.
Problem with the verticle fan lift doors have forced the delay of the F-35B part of the JSF program.
1. ELP Defens(c)e Blog. "In the wrong league–the F-35 won’t handle growing Pacific Rim threats" by Eric Palmer. January 18, 2011. (http://ericpalmer.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/in-the-wrong-league-the-f-35-wont-handle-growing-pacific-rim-threats/).
2. "F-35B Shows Progress With 5 Vertical Landings: Analysts" by Dave Majumdar. January 18, 2011.(http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=5475628&c=AIR&s=TOP).