The US’s New 6th Generation Fighter Jet

Source: aeroman3

“Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs begin Auto GCAS test flights.” https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/67952e91-23cc-4b9a-b246-7a98b9eed492

By: Abhi Palikala, Reporter

Recently, the USAF made headlines by prototyping and flying an experimental aircraft in just the span of a year. The implications of this are immense. Military suppliers could design and test radical new planes that they wouldn’t devote a decade to unless they succeed. The Air Force could increase it’s diversity and have more specialized planes, which will give the US a huge advantage over other countries. The prototype, designed under the Next Generation Air Dominance program (NGAD), it is assumed to be the heir of the F-22 Raptor, the current 5th generation plane in service. China and Russia have both recently developed and flew their new fifth generation planes, so the US needs to create a new one to stay ahead in air dominance. The plane was most likely design by either Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman, the two biggest Military Aerospace giants. The plane will most likely have hypersonic air-to-ground missiles, which can devastate far away enemy targets, along with 6th gen stealth technology partially based off of the F-35 and F-22.

What it might have: 

The Raytheon High Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS), which can perform laser surveillance and counter drone attack missions using a variety of tools, is a possible option for the hypothetical 6th generation plane. The laser allows the plane to incinerate an enemy aircraft in seconds, while being lighter than air-to-air machine guns. The plane might also be able to carry out autonomous missions working with some unmanned drones, allowing for riskier and more synergized tactics than before.

Drawbacks:

As of now, the only such drawback of making this plane a reality would be cost. Lockheed’s F-35, it’s most likely close cousin, cost’s between $85-120 million per plane. With this plane still being developed with new and more unusual (for a plane) technologies, it is easy to see the plane costing upwards of $120-150 million.

Summary

The hypothetical 6th generation plane comes with the most advanced (radical even) technology to date. Building it, the US would put itself solidly ahead of its military enemies, solidifying its hold over certain areas. The much contested Indian Ocean would be easier to take control of and hold with these planes. The US has a lot to look forward to in the future.

 

Related:

6th-gen stealth fighter likely to include lasers, AI and drone control | Fox News

New Stealth Fighter 6th-Gen Prototype Flies in Record Time, Invisible and Deadly (pjmedia.com)