We’ve Got To Start Now

Air Combat Command is starting soon to study the F-22 replacement or supplement—a 6th-generation fighter—Air Combat Command chief Gen. William Fraser said in an interview. “We’re in the very early stages of this and doing a capabilities-based assessment,” he said, adding, “we’ll get started in the not-too-distant future.” Other ACC officials said in the next few months the command would launch an 18-month analysis of alternatives that will look at options for replacing the F-22 when the first ones begin to reach their planned life expectancies, about 20 years from now. Those alternatives will consider unmanned aircraft, as well as manned aircraft, and new munitions, but Fraser said a penetrating platform will still likely be essential. “We are mindful that we’ve got to be prepared for the future,” Fraser said. “That’s why we’ve got to start now.”