Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will be named the Lightning II in operational service, following an announcement by US Air Force chief of staff Gen Michael Moseley. The first system development and demonstration F-35 was rolled out at Lockheed's Fort Worth plant in Texas on 7 July.


The UK Ministry of Defence will launch a new unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) technology demonstration programme within the next few weeks, according to BAE Systems. The company will head an industry team including Qinetiq, Rolls-Royce and Smiths, which will inform MoD planning into the potential future acquisition and operation of offensive unmanned air vehicles.


The Russian air force will receive 58 Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers before 2015, says Russian defence minister Sergei Ivanov, increasing a previous commitment to acquire 24 of the aircraft by 2010. The air force took delivery of its first Su-34 during a ceremony in Novosibirsk on 6 July, with the type to replace its Su-24s.


The Venezuelan army took delivery of its first batch of four Mil Mi-35M2 assault helicopters at El Libertador air base in Maracay on 9 July. The service will receive another four Mi-35s later this year and hopes to order another two. The gunships will form the core of an army aviation battalion to also comprise six Mi-17V5 transports delivered last April and one Mi-26 transport to be accepted before year-end.


Israel Aircraft Industries is preparing for the debut flight of its Heron TP, or Eitan, high-altitude long-endurance unmanned air vehicle. With an estimated endurance of 70h, the Eitan will perform some surveillance missions now flown by manned Israeli air force platforms.

Source: Flight International