Our Limited Horizon

The Air Force has its “hands full” with delivering on a few key programs and staving off financial problems, leaving little room for inventing the next generation of air dominance fighter, said the service’s leadership. “We need to focus on [generation] five before we start investing heavily in Gen 6,” Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in a press conference Feb. 24 at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. “That’s what requires our maximum management attention,” he added. Technology efforts are underway in stealth, apertures, propulsion, electronic warfare, and other “key areas,” and “we’ll keep the seed corn going,” said Schwartz. “But we’re not going to get this programmatic definition” of a sixth generation fighter, he said. “I just don’t see that as being a valuable use of our limited ‘bandwidth,'” he added. At the same event, Secretary Michael Donley said a sixth generation fighter is a “good question for a couple of Chiefs and Secretaries after us.”