…..Does this make Fifth generation fighters old?

-By Bhagavan Hindustani

According to a recent report, the US air force had recently flown the first-ever prototype of the sixth-generation fighter. Will Roper, the head of air force acquisition also said that NGAD (Next Generation Air Dominance) project is currently designing, assembling, and testing the digital model. He also said that the prototype broke a lot of records during a virtual presentation to the air force. If this news is true, it will be a significant development as many countries including India are struggling with fifth-generation fighters which will make the US the first and the only country in the world to have flown a sixth gen prototype.

            Though Roper refrained from providing more details about the test flight, this type of digital design technology could increase the competition between the companies. He also claimed that digital design engineering is also lowering the effort required for building the aircraft as huge facilities to do so are not needed. He also hopes that this can help smaller companies enter the industry. As of now Lockheed Martin and Boeing are the main aircraft builders in the US.

Artistic impression of a sixth gen fighter

Though the details that are available about the sixth-generation fighter are really bleak, Roper’s main agenda was to shut the critics up who claimed that aircraft cannot be built over digital design platforms. He also stressed the importance of digital design and how it can help create simulations that can replicate the technical conditions, platform performance, and other parameters of the aircraft. Though no details about the vendor who worked on the prototype are available it is to be noted that Lockheed and Boeing along with General Atomics won the contracts for the sixth-generation fighter.

Sixth generation technologies

As speculated, sixth-generation aircraft will be AI-based which can take decisions on their own and can control a whole lot of drones and other subsystems with its most advanced sensors, avionics computer-based processing, and targeting systems. These aircraft will be the most advanced to date without any doubt. A lot of sixth-generation programs have started around the globe.

            Apart from the above mentioned AI-based intelligence sixth-generation fighters will also have autonomous systems which can fly without a pilot, will be resistant to cyber-attack and have the capability of lunching them, real-time connectivity with satellites for relevant battlefield information, the hypersonic speed with supersonic cruise technology, comes equipped with long-range hypersonic cruise missiles, directed –energy weapons such as high energy lasers for damaging enemy sensors, seekers and burning air-air missiles and “smart-skin” which help in managing the heat distribution on the surface.

            We also know that recently an AI pilot beat the human f-16 pilot outright in a virtual dog fight by a final score of 5-0. This incident happened during the Alpha dog fight trails that were conducted by DARPA to evaluate the capabilities of AI. This clearly shows the technical advantages of sixth-generation aircraft and their capabilities.

What this means for fifth generation fighters?

As we all know that countries are still trying to perfect the technologies of fifth-generation fighters, sixth-generation fighters will take at least two decades from now to probably enter serial production and by that time most of the fifth generation programs would have matured around the world. This sixth generation will work in tandem with both fifth and 4.5 gen aircraft.

By Alpha Defense

Alpha Defense initially a solo venture but now a defense group by people from various demographics of India covering defense news and updates. We believe in unbiased analysis of every subject in hand. Our mission is to provide simplfiied defense information to the public.

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