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Aerospace The Sixth Generation Fighter

  1. Feb 15, 2010 #1

    Well it is interesting, a lot of it seems science fiction at the moment, but who knows what the future holds!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2010 #2
    Interesting link, I will read it tomorrow when I have time. I'm glad to see you taking interest in reading these kinds of articles. Keep it up.
  4. Feb 16, 2010 #3
    Has the F-22 or F-35 ever been used in a combat situation? It seems pointless to speculate about the next generation of fighters when the combat readiness of the current generation is unknown.
  5. Feb 16, 2010 #4


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    I would think knowing what a plane can and cannot do is enough, a combat situation would only help to show what the other plane can and cannot do. It might boil down to the skill of each pilot and the future might be more remote control??

    P.S. I also will have to read the link a little later. :)
  6. Feb 16, 2010 #5
    The US will always have to be ahead of the other nations involved in controlling the skies. Russia and China will be producing 5th gen. fighters within the next 10 years (Russia's T-50 I believe, can not remember China's). So we need to start thinking about the 6th generation.

    The F-22 Raptor started its design phase in the 1980s, so a 6th gen won't be expected until the 2030's at least. Of course the Raptor program has been shut down in favor of the cheaper F-35 Lightning II, which just so happens to have the same airframe cost of the F-22 (currently $200 million USD per plane)

    Of course the Lightning II is much more of a multi-role aircraft than the near strictly air superiority F-22

    For the 6th Gen. fighter they are moving towards a more unmanned approach, but are trying to achieve the balance between the thinking capacity of a human, and the flight capabilities of a UCAV.
  7. Feb 16, 2010 #6


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    The Air Force is so funny some times. They can't read the tea leaves on this? They seem to continually think that they get a blank check for whatever aircraft they ask for. I certainly hope they are thinking in the next century this might happen. Today's battles have created a lot of critics of the whole fighter evolution which is why the F-22 has been stopped in production. I think the next generation will have to be a huge, quantum leap in performance/ability before a new program is allowed to enter production any time soon.
  8. Feb 16, 2010 #7


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    Remember they are locked in a constant deadly battle with their historical enemy - the Navy.

    So while the navy demands more aircraft carriers and nuclear subs to deal with terrorists in land locked Afghanistan the airforce needs more advanced air superiority fighters to deal with the same people.

    Meanwhile the army would probably like some new boots, or at least new laces for the old ones
  9. Feb 16, 2010 #8
    Dont forget the National Guard! I see that they are upgrading from the Fokker E.I to a P51d Mustang! Huge leap in technology for them!:biggrin:

    The Sixth Gen. fighter will have stuff from science fiction on it! It reminds me of this:
    http://www.cinemaspy.com/img/user/VIPER%20MK%20II%20IN%20HANGAR%20BAY%201.jpg [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  10. Feb 16, 2010 #9


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    Not the new Viper. You need to dig up one of thebetter looking Vipers:


  11. Feb 16, 2010 #10
    A question to think about,

    What will the 6th gen. be like?

    From the sounds of it, even though most of the things said are just speculation. It seems like it will be more of a mobile command center (something like AWACS) with the mixture of a futuristic AC-130U gunship.
  12. Feb 19, 2010 #11
    Surely that's not a given? When people are enthusiastic and have gumption, they can produce very quickly. This happened with the P-51 Mustang, for instance:
    (emphasis mine, http://www.aviation-history.com/north-american/p51.html" [Broken])

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  13. Feb 19, 2010 #12
    Look at the planes that are already in the air by that time though. The ME-109 was already in the air by the early 30's, so the Mustang wasn't some huge technological leap like the F-22 was.

    The 6th gen is going to be nothing like anything that is flying today, and most of the technology that will most likely be used on the 6th gen either is in early development, or hasn't been invented yet.
    (again this is mostly assumption)
  14. Feb 19, 2010 #13
    The ME-109 was introduced in the late 1930s - the first flight was in '35 and the introduction in '37 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Bf_109" [Broken]). So, if you're serious about making this comparison and using the timeframe of 20 years (2010-2030), shouldn't we be looking at the state of aircraft design in 1920?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  15. Feb 19, 2010 #14
    No. The 6th gen isn't going to be anything like the current production planes of right now, just like the F-22 wasn't like anything in production at the start of its design phase. (F/A-18, F-16, somewhat the Rafale) and currently the 6th Gen. will be far different from the Typhoon, T-50 (PAK FA), or any other current 4th/5th gen airframe.

    The ME-109 and P-51 is like the F-22 and the F-35, they are closer in development to each other, and are both very similar aircraft. The P-51 was very easy to design once they saw the ME-109, just like the F-35 was much easier to build once the logistics were out of the way with the F-22.
  16. Feb 20, 2010 #15
    I take your point, but what about planes like, say, the Hurricane? It first flew in 1935, same as the ME-109:

    (emphasis mine)

    Isn't this an example of creating a revolutionary new plane design within the space of a year?
  17. Feb 20, 2010 #16
    You're not going to produce a 6th gen fighter in under ten years. It's just not going to happen - period.
  18. Feb 20, 2010 #17
    What are the factors preventing that from happening? And why would it take longer to produce a 6th generation fighter than it did to actually invent the aeroplane?
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  19. Feb 20, 2010 #18
    Because aircraft are designed on CAD systems, which means literally millions of parts must be made, evaluated, and tested. Then the tooling for all those parts have to be made (and made around the world), shipped to a main assembly plant, integrated, inspected. Then there is the butt load of bureaucracy and FAA hoops to jump through.
  20. Feb 21, 2010 #19


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    To my knowledge, the FAA does not have any governance in military applications. It is only when someone wants to register a vintage military aircraft. That being said, the service branch the aircraft is for is usually a lot more strict in its qualifications (mil aircraft are qualified, civilian aircraft are certified).

    The thing about this thread is that the OP and others seem to think that aircraft are designed by one or two guys and then it is spread out to a factory floor to make. That can't be farther from the truth.
  21. Feb 21, 2010 #20
    I agree that right now that isn't how planes are made. But it is how some planes have been made - indeed, how the plane was made - so we know that it is possible to make planes that way. I'm not really asking is not how planes are currently made - that's easy to find out. But with serious imagination, criticism, creativity, ambition and courage, applied to both the design of the plane itself, and also in determining things like the laws and bureaucracy governing aircraft qualifications, we could create a significantly better plane than the ones we have now in way less than a decade.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
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