Wednesday, March 26, 2014

US, allies may buy more than 3,100 F-35 jets

WASHINGTON — The United States and its allies plan to buy more than 3,100 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter warplanes in the coming years. Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the US$392 billion (S$497 billion) weapons programme, is developing three variations for the US military services and eight partner countries that helped fund the plane’s development — Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada.
South Korea this week said it would join the two countries outside the group, Israel and Japan, that have placed orders for the jet. Singapore and Belgium are among other countries that have expressed interest.

The conventional landing A-model will be used by the US Air Force and most allies, revealed data provided by Lockheed Martin and defence officials in the US and other purchasing countries. The B-model, which can take off from shorter runways and land like a helicopter, will be used by the US Marine Corps, Italy and Britain, while the C-model, or carrier variant, will be used by the US Navy and Marine Corps.

The US is buying more than 2,400 F-35s. Outside of the US, the biggest buyer is the United Kingdom, which plans to buy a total of 138 F-35 B-models. Britain has so far committed to buying 48 of the new planes and is expected to announce plans for the next 14 jets soon. It has already received three jets.

Italy initially planned to buy 131 F-35 fighters, but curtailed its order to 90 jets in 2012. It is now slated to buy 60 F-35A models and 30 F-35Bs, but budget pressures may force another reduction of up to half of the remaining jets.

Other major buyers include the Netherlands (37 jets and possibly more later), Turkey (100), Australia (100), Norway (52), Denmark (possibly 30) and Israel (19, with future orders of up to 75).

Japan announced in December 2011 that it was ordering 42 F-35 A-model jets and may order more in the coming years.
South Korea this week confirmed its plans to buy F-35A jets to replace its ageing F-4s. Sources familiar with its plans said the government plans to spend around 7.34 trillion won (S$8.6 billion) for 40 F-35 jets. REUTERS



  1. The U.S. wants its allies to spend more on defense. Here’s how much they’re shelling out....

    The United States has long urged its allies -- particularly European governments -- to spend a greater share of their budgets on defense. American officials have warned that defense cuts in recent years by many members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have created a two-tiered system in which some nations are freeloading off of those that continue to invest heavily in defense.

    Several capitals have done little more than pay lip service to warnings from Washington, which continues to spend approximately 4 percent of its gross domestic product on defense. The United States has shouldered a higher share of NATO’s defense expenditures in recent years. According to NATO’s 2013 annual report, Washington was paying 73 percent of the alliance’s defense expenditures, up from 68 percent in 2007.

    NATO leaders have demanded that members spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense, but several have struggled to meet that threshold. Currently, few European countries are meeting that benchmark. By way of comparison, Russia spends 4.5 of its GDP on defense...........

  2. Obama: «Nous sommes les héritiers d’une lutte pour la liberté»...

    Le président des Etats-Unis s’est adressé à la jeunesse européenne dans son discours à Bozar où l’écoutaient 2 000 invités.

    Point d’orgue de sa visite éclair à Bruxelles, Barack Obama a prononcé un discours à Bozar devant 2 000 invités. Le président des Etats-Unis y est revenu sur l’Histoire commune entre les Etats-Unis et l’Europe, les idéaux partagés par les deux continents avant de parler de l’Ukraine.

    Le président américain a appelé les jeunes Européens à prendre en main le destin de l’Europe : « Nous devons nous battre pour nos idées. » Barack Obama a commencé son allocution en indiquant que sa visite au cimetière Flanders Fields de Waregem lui avait rappelé comment deux générations avaient été sacrifiées pendant les deux conflits mondiaux : « C’est en réponse à cette histoire tragique, qu’après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, les Etats-Unis et l’Europe se sont unis pour rejeter les forces obscures du passé et bâtir une nouvelle architecture de la paix(…) Les Européens (…) sont aujourd’hui plus en sécurité et dans une situation plus prospère qu’ils ne l’ont jamais été. »
    « La situation en Ukraine n’a pas de réponse facile »

    Selon le président américain, la crise économique a ébranlé le projet européen. « Mais le combat des idées continue pour votre génération », a-t-il averti les jeunes présents dans la salle, faisant allusion à « l’annexion » de la Crimée par la Russie. « Au XXIe siècle, les frontières de l’Europe ne peuvent pas être redessinées par la force. »

    « Ni l’Europe, ni les Etats-Unis n’ont intérêt à contrôler l’Ukraine. Nous voulons juste que le peuple d’Ukraine puisse choisir son destin ». Il a intimé la Russie à stopper ses visées sur l’Ukraine.................

  3. F-35 fleet grounded for the eighth time over unknown engine issue...

    As the cost of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet continues to grow, so do the headaches: the United States military announced on Thursday that its entire fleet of aircraft has been grounded until engine inspections are completed.

    The decision comes as the Pentagon struggles to find the source of yet another problem with the $398.6 billion program. On June 23, an F-35 caught fire as the pilot attempted to take off at a Florida air base. According to Reuters, one unidentified source described the incident by saying, "The engine ripped through the top of the plane.”

    In the most recent Reuters report, the military said it still had not highlighted the cause of that fire, and that new inspections are being put in place in order to assess the capability of the entire fleet.

    "Additional inspections of F-35 engines have been ordered, and return to flight will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data," the Defense Department said in a statement to the news service on Thursday.

    According to the Burlington Free Press, the incident is also under review by the Air Force Safety Investigation Board. That overview could take up to a month to finish.

    "The flights have paused while we figure out what went wrong," 1st Lt. Hope Cronin, a spokeswoman at Eglin for the Air Force's 33rd Fighter Wing, told the Free Press.

    As noted by Gizmodo, this marks the eighth time the entire F-35 fleet has been grounded. The last time also occurred in mid-June, when an engine oil leak forced the military to inspect 104 of its jets. Three of the F-35s failed the test. It’s currently unclear when exactly the F-35 fleet could be back in the skies, but plans to fly a jet for a July 4 naming ceremony of Britain’s latest aircraft carrier have already been cancelled.

    There are also tentative plans to fly the jets during two air shows in the United Kingdom on July 11 and 14, though no final decision has been rendered.

    "We will contribute to the return to flight determination, and will aim to do what is prudent for the enterprise at large without compromising the ongoing mishap investigation," Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan said to Reuters....................


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