No New Fighter

A year after Russia unveiled its T-50 stealth fighter—and less than a month after China flew its own J-20 stealthy prototype—the Air Force Fiscal 2012 budget plan contains no new program to pursue a sixth generation fighter. Air Combat Command officials have said they will wrap up an analysis of alternatives soon on what technologies a sixth generation fighter would need to have, and when it would need to appear. In recent weeks Air Force and Pentagon officials have downplayed the J-20, suggesting that China has a lot of development work to do before attaining a true stealth operational capability. They have pointedly not commented on the T-50’s potential operational status.