China broke into the ranks of the five largest arms exporting countries for the first time since the end of the Cold War, displacing the UK in the volume of arms deliveries, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri). The UK dropped from the list for the first time since at least 1950, the Swedish institute said.
The acquisition cost of F-35s for the international partners is bound to be affected by the slowdown in U.S. production, Dave Scott, Lockheed Martin’s director for international F-35 customer engagement, told AIN. “But we’ll still be doing about 30 in each of the next few years for the U.S., and when you add orders that have already been confirmed by the partners plus Israel and Japan, it’s not a bad annual rate,” he continued.
The first two production Lockheed Martin F-35s for operational training have been delivered to Eglin AFB, Florida, about one year behind schedule. F-35As AF-9 and AF-8, the first deliveries from low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 2, flew to the Florida base on July 14 and 20, respectively.
Although the Pentagon last month declared that it was increasing the early production tempo of the F-35, the decision to buy 30 aircraft next year does not actually change previous plans. Moreover, there is still no U.S. commitment to multi-year procurement (MYP) before 2015. Mindful of repeated criticism by the U.S.
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