A 12-member delegation from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army visited Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and other nearby military installations Oct. 1-2 for a professional exchange with senior enlisted airmen, marines, sailors, and soldiers. The visit of the Chinese group, led by Maj. Gen. Zhong Zhiming, chief of military affairs for the PLA Headquarters General Staff, is part of the US military’s efforts to promote understanding and a constructive relationship. “The most interesting part of the visit was the Airman Leadership School,” said Zhong. “It’s really important to know how you apply your leadership to help develop the overall quality of your junior [noncommissioned officers].” The Chinese visit came after a US military delegation led by Air Force CMSgt. James Roy, US Pacific Command’s senior enlisted leader, went to China in June. And it concluded just one day before the Bush Administration informed Congress of its intent to sell Taiwan a $6.5 billion package of defensive arms, including Patriot anti-missile missiles, Apache attack helicopters, Javelin antitank missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, spare parts for C-130s, F-5s, and F-16s, and upgrades for four E-2 surveillance aircraft. The Chinese government wasted no time in responding, announcing Oct. 6 that it was cancelling a senior general’s visit to Washington, D.C., later this year, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. The newspaper said China will also halt port calls by US naval vessels for the time being and not participate in upcoming humanitarian assistance-disaster relief exchanges or talks on stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction. (Includes Hickam report by Capt. Genieve David)
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.