Air International 2021-05
A.Warnes - Asia's fifth generation face-off
There is one fighter regiment of J-20As currently serving the PLAAF at Wuhu in eastern China, but it’s unclear if the logistics are in place for a forward deployment
With China’s J-20 fighter prowling the skies, some of its East Asian neighbours are boosting their military with fifth-generation fighters
Final assembly of South Korea’s new fifth-generation KF-X was started in September 2020 and is expected to make its first flight in 2022
MBDA signed a contract with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) on November 22, 2019 to integrate the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) on to the KF-X. In this artist’s impression there are four of them nestling under the main fuselage
The Royal Australian Air Force has a requirement for 72 F-35As, with 33 so far delivered, most if not all to the first unit - 3 Squadron at Williamtown
The first of 60 F-35As on order by the ROKAF was rolled out on March 27, 2018. Around 30 have now been delivered
The 11th F-35A for Japan taxies in at Misawa Air Base where it serves with the 302 Hikotai. A second unit, 301 Hikotai, is set to work up at the facility with F-35As, having retired its F-4EJs at Hyakuri. Japan is now the biggest export customer and views the threats from North Korea and China very seriously
The 11th F-35A for the ROKAF departs Lockheed Martin on October 23, 2019, in company with two other examples. They were delivered to the 151st Fighter Squadron at Cheongju AB
Three of the first four JASDF F-35As built at Lockheed Martin fly over the desert during a mission out of Luke AFB, Arizona where they were used for training
All four of the JASDF F-35As were delivered from Luke AFB to Misawa Air Base in Japan in March 2018. To date the JASDF has received 34 F-35s of 147 on order, which includes a requirement for 42 F-35Bs, as Japan seeks to create an amphibious force
A VMFA-121 F-35B wearing the USS America titles is seen at Yokota Air Base on February 9, 2021. The USMC units are regular features on USS aicraft carriers now