The US air component, like the US ground and naval forces defending South Korea, will be a supporting element to the South Korean supreme combatant commander when operational control on the Korean peninsula shifts from the US to the South Korean military on April 17, 2012, Army Gen. Walter Sharp, the top US commander in Korea, told reporters Tuesday in Washington, D.C. However, 7th Air Force will continue to lead a combined headquarters with the South Korean air force even after the changeover, said Sharp. He explained that the combined air headquarters would support the top South Korean military commander, but “we just felt that with the airpower that the United States brings … to be able to have the maximum effect from airpower, the best way to do it was to continue with the US being the lead” in the air headquarters. Continue
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.