The Taiwanese air force Pilot killed in a Jan. 21 F-16 crash near Luke AFB, Ariz., has been identified as 31-year-old Maj. Kao Ting-cheng, a student at Luke’s international training program who had clocked 865 flight hours. The American Institute in Taiwan, an organization that represents US interests in Taiwan, identified the pilot in a Jan. 23 post on its Facebook page, expressing “deep condolences to the family and friends” of the pilot. Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported Kao was a 2007 graduate of Taiwan’s Air Force Academy. The Taiwanese air force is sending three officials to the US to assist with the investigation. Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke, has convened a safety investigation board to determine the cause of the mishap, which occurred during basic fighter maneuver training near Bagdad, Ariz.
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.