The rollouts of the Chinese J-20 and Russian PAK-FA stealth fighter designs within the past two years were “discouraging” in that “we thought there was maybe a little bit more time” before the emergence of such advanced technology outside of the United States, said Lt. Gen. Herbert Carlisle, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements. Nonetheless, “These airplanes are not easy” to develop, Carlisle told the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee’s airland panel this week. “They’re certainly getting there, but there’s some things that a practiced eye that’s been doing this for a long time can look at . . . and go, ‘Well, you know, they probably don’t have that exactly right,'” he added. “And then to produce these, again, it’s not easy. It’s going to take some work for them to get there.” (Carlisle’s written testimony) (See also J-20 Back in the Air and Keep the Air Superiority Edge from the Daily Report archives.)
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.