The F-36 King Snake is a new US concept, it is light weight, cheap and does not emphasize stealth performance. It could be called “5-” generation fighter.
The F-35 has won over other candidates to replace the F-16, but the F-35’s price is too expensive and is inferior to the F-16 in some features. Therefore, the F-35 can hardly replace the entire F-16 in a short time.
The average service life of 783 F-16C fighters, currently in service in the US Air Force is 28.7 years, so the F-16Cs are nearing the end of their service life. This makes a new fighter jet’s 20-year development cycle impossible. Instead, experts want to quickly design, define the specifications of a new fighter within a year, and relies on simpler construction techniques to quickly begin mass production.
The F-36 will reuse existing technologies to speed production. For example, the F-36 could use the F119 turbofan engine on the F-22 Raptor to reach Mach 2, without having to completely redesign the engine. Or the F-36 can also be equipped with the advanced AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array radar, like the latest version of the F-16. It could also be equipped with a new infrared sensor system and photoelectric targeting system.
Like the F-16, the F-36 will be a multi-role fighter that can perform air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface missions. The aircraft will also be equipped with an internal weapon bay. As a fighter that does not focus on stealth, the F-36 will also have hard points under the wings. In addition, the F-36 will be equipped with a cannon to carry out air strikes on enemy ground targets.
The development philosophy of the F-36 is rapid development, in accordance with the financial capacity and the ability to upgrade with new technologies in the future. If the F-35 is compared to a Ferrari supercar, the F-22 is the Bugatti Chiron, the F-36 that the US Air Force needs is just a popular car that is good enough and as durable as a Toyota.