The Pentagon is deploying an all-new, highly-modern version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to its new headquarters in Singapore.
The Pentagon has decided to change the way the F35 is trained to better suit its mission, officials said Wednesday, adding that the move is intended to give the Air Force a greater capability to deal with threats that can strike the Pentagon.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will discuss the new Joint Strike fighter during a conference call with the Air and Space Command at 3:30 p.m.
ET (1130 GMT), the officials said.
The Air Force has about 2,400 active-duty pilots in Singapore, but only about 1,400 of them have the skills needed to fly the new aircraft.
The new F-15E, the Air Guard’s main fighter jet, is now the only one in the United States to have the ability to carry the JSF, officials told reporters.
The Air Guard, the largest air force in the world, will fly the F18F Hornet as its next aircraft, the officials added.
The move is likely to boost confidence in the F36, the main fighter program for the Air National Guard, which was expected to receive the F37A in 2019.
The F-36, which has an estimated cost of $1.9 billion, was supposed to be the Air’s answer to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, a single-engine fighter with a large fuel tank.
But problems with the F40 Super Hornets resulted in a delay in fielding the fighter and the Navy is now developing its own plane, according to the Air Department.
The changes to the J-15, the air force’s main strike aircraft, are meant to give it the capability to take on an air-to-air threat with greater flexibility, officials explained.
The J-20 and J-23 are expected to be used in the air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), they added.
Officials have said the JF-18 has a much shorter range than the F17.
The new J-17 has a maximum range of 300 miles (482 kilometers) and can reach speeds of up to Mach 3.
The Air Force is considering putting a third jet in the program.
The U.S. military and Air National Guards have long been at odds with each other.
The F-22 Raptor, the U.K.’s first-ever stealth fighter, was canceled after its first flight in late 2010.
The JSF program was originally envisioned as a major overhaul of the Navy’s fighter fleet.
But critics have said that without the new jets, the Navy would not be able to meet its air-launched cruise missiles (ALSAMs), the Navy program that is supposed to replace the F38.