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The Qualitative Advantage: The current budget battles should not stop the Air Force from researching sixth generation fighter capabilities, Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command, told the Daily Report. "One of the things that sets us apart from any other air force in the world is our qualitative advantage. A lot of that comes from the technical capability that we've sustained," said Hostage during an interview at AFA's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 21. "We can't zero out science and technology." In fact, Hostage said he feels "morally obligated" to consider what he called "F-X," the notional sixth gen fighter. He said, "We need to look at what will replace the F-35, assuming I get to buy them. What will defend the nation from 2030 to 2040?" (See also Requirements Discipline and Sixth Gen.)