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China to boost air defenses?
by Richard Tomkins
Beijing (UPI) Aug 29, 2016

Maiden flight for first Japanese F-35
Fort Worth, Texas (UPI) Aug 29, 2016 - The first F-35 Lightning II fighter built for Japan has performed its maiden flight with a Lockheed Martin test pilot at the controls.

The aircraft, designated the AX-1, flew for more than one hour late last week after rolling off the Lockheed Martin production line in Fort Worth, Texas.

Japan is to purchase 42 F-35s under a U.S. Foreign Military Sales deal. The AX-1 and three other F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variants are to be delivered to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force before the end of this year.

Thirty-eight of the advanced fighters will be assembled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries final assembly and check-out facility in Nagoya, Japan.

Lockheed Martin said maintenance training for the first Japan maintainers has already begun at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Pilot training for the planes will begin at Luke AFB in Arizona beginning in November.

The Chinese air force may increase the country's existing anti-missile capabilities, according to the official People's Daily Online.

Shen Jinke, spokesman for the People's Liberation Army Air Force, was quoted by People's Daily as saying upgrades to the ground-to-air forces in China would be a solid step toward increasing national security.

"Through innovation, ground-to-air defense troops are able to deal with far-range, medium-range and short-range missiles which can come in on high, medium and low altitudes," he said.

"The capability of China's air defense and anti-missile systems has greatly improved in the information age we live in. Our ground-to-air forces are now a powerful force to safeguard China's airspace sovereignty."

The circumstances surrounding the spokesman's remarks were not detailed. Neither were indications on when or how the China's current ground-to-air missile and anti-aircraft defense systems might be upgraded.

However, the statement follows plans by the United States and South Korea to place the U.S. THAAD, or Terminal High-Altitude Aerial Defense, anti-missile system in South Korea.

China's H-6K bomber to be showcased at first public event: Report
Beijing (UPI) Aug 29, 2016 -China's H-6K medium and long range bomber will be open to the public for the first time this week, the official People's Liberation Army Daily reported.

The bomber's availability will take place Thursday during the "Pursuing the Aero Dream" event in Changchun, an event to mark the 70th anniversary of the Old Northeast Aviation School there, PLA Daily quoted People's Liberation Army air force officials as saying.

The H-6K is the country's indigenously made bomber, largely used for long-range precision strikes and tactical bombing missions, PLA Daily reported.

It joined the country's V-Day military parade in 2015 and conducted South China Sea combat patrols this year.

Other equipment, such as the KJ-500 Airborne Early Warning aircraft and the HQ-9 surface-to-air missile system will also meet the public next month.

The H-6 bomber fleet was originally adapted from the late-1950s Soviet Tu-16 design, a 2015 Pentagon assessment on China's military power states.

The H-6K variant can carry six land attack cruise missiles, a capability that will give PLA a long-range, stand-off offensive air capability with precision-guided munitions, the Pentagon noted in the report.

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