US is once again ahead of its competitors, testing a 6th-generation fighter
WASHINGTON, (BM) – In the next ten years, at least three more countries will develop and put into operation fighter jets of the sweat generation. And while they [EU, South Korea, Turkey] are developing these projects on their own, the United States is no longer just working on a sixth-generation fighter, but has even started real tests, he learned BulgarianMilitary.com quoting information from American colleagues from Defense News.
According to the military publication, the US Air Force conducted real flight tests of an aircraft under Project X, trying to keep this information secret, but apparently failed.
Asked for comment by the US edition, Will Roper of the Pentagon’s purchasing directorate said that the US military is more than ready to take the next step in building a sixth-generation aircraft and has yet to improve all records set so far.
According to American journalists, the cited sixth-generation fighter is being developed under the NGAD program, which is secret. For this reason, no one has yet been able to determine whether it was a sixth-generation fighter jet, some kind of demonstrator or prototype, a manned or unmanned flying object. However, the journalists come to the final conclusion that this may be a real prototype of a sixth generation fighter.
However, the continuation of the project remains unclear, as experts and especially financiers say that this project could seriously affect the budget for 2022, which in one way or another will shake the US military-industrial complex. Roper mostly refers to the possibility for the United States to create a completely new company.
According to another American publication, The Drive, Roper may have been talking about the so-called digital engineering, giving the example of the latest known American prototypes, such as the Boeing X-32 and Lockheed Martin X-35, which were actually also tested, but so far there is no production of specific fighters. And perhaps, the authors of the article note, these aircraft will be used by the United States to build a sixth-generation fighter.
Let us remind you that the United States has actually changed the period for acquiring new fighters by reducing it. This is especially true of the NGAD program, which is clearly working on a sixth-generation fighter. It is currently claimed that these projects will officially enter on October 1 this year, but such information is still only a guess. However, this approach is reminiscent of the development of F-100 to F-106 aircraft, which were created in a very short time.
According to Roper, the new fighter, or more precisely the development of the new sixth generation fighter, should adhere to three basic principles: efficiency in software development, open architectural structure and digital engineering.
Currently, the US Armed Forces (AF) has two fighters of the latest (fifth) generation – F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II (three variants).
What will the new U.S. Navy 6th generation fighter look like?
As we reported on May 12 this year for the US Navy, a 6th generation fighter is designing, which will be different from the fighter planned for the Air Force.
The sixth generation of fighters, which is being actively discussed by many today, is considered by experts to be not “independent”, but rather “complementary” to the fifth generation.
The sixth generation is being developed most actively in the USA – the military has a clear concept and a clear understanding of what they want from the new products.
At the same time, the US military already had experience in creating a “single” machine for both sailors and infantry – the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. The multi-purpose aircraft opened up, among other things, wide opportunities for the unification of production, making it possible to quickly repair damaged aircraft and always have the necessary spare parts in stock.
And it seemed that the concept would continue on the sixth generation machines.
However, this time the US military decided to create “specialized” aircraft: according to data provided by the Popular Mechanics publication, the new fighter will be created exclusively for the fleet and will not be included in other types of troops.
What solutions will apply?
Little is known about the new machine: they call it “F / A-XX”, it is planned to replace it with “F / A-18E / F Super Hornet”, the aircraft will be delivered to the fleet around the 2030s. The first information about the new aircraft appeared in 2008.
According to statements by representatives of the US Air Force, the aircraft will be very different from the “land” counterparts. Initially, “F / A-XX” was conceived not even as an airplane, but as a platform around which you can build their various types, moreover, a platform with an open architecture.
They didn’t forget about the latest AI technologies: in 2015, the press got a statement from Ray Mabus (at that time the US Secretary of the Navy) that the new product would be unmanned. This allows us to think that on the “F / A-XX” platform, a whole “family” of aircraft will indeed be launched.
There is very little known directly about the manned F / A-XX: it is a two-seat aircraft without tail stabilizers, made using the technology previously known as the “flying wing” (the “mixed wing” in the current variation). The machine will weigh up to 18 tons; it will be equipped with two engines.
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