Orlando, February 18, 2010—There were no surprises in the unveiling of the new Russian fifth-generation PAK FA fighter prototype earlier this month, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium. “I didn’t see anything in that video or the analysis that’s been behind it that would cause me to rethink our current plans for F-22/F-35,” he said. “We expect aerospace technology to be advancing in all the developed countries, and the Russians have had a robust industrial base … so this is not a surprise.” He added, “We’re already anticipating advanced fighters, advanced air defenses, of all different types to be part of the future we have to take account for.” (For contrast, see Is It a Game Changer) Donley also noted that USAF expects to maintain about 2050 fighters, but he added, “The fighter force structure has been evolving and will continue to evolve.”
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.