Multi-role capabilities are also likely to become a distinct feature of the new aircraft.

Introduce

While the major powers are competing in the race to develop fifth-generation fighters, it was beginning to talk about the next generation, the sixth generation fighter. So, what are the main features of the sixth generation fighters and how do they differ from the fifth generation?

Four years ago, the head of the United Aircraft Corporation of Russia revealed the approximate timeframe for building a 6th generation fighter – possibly making its first flight before 2025. The two most common features of this futuristic aircraft are supersonic speed and unmanned maneuverability.

In a video released in March 2018 titled: “Air Force 2030 – Call to action”, the Air Force Research Laboratory introduced the vision of the future of American fighters. A variety of current and future modern fighters work together, including the F-35, B-21 Raider, etc. and especially the 6th generation fighter, equipped with laser weapons.

The concept of the 6th generation fighter jet

According to the image shown, the 6th generation US fighter appeared with a very special design, without tail stabilizer. It is equipped with a laser cannon, which is extremely destructive.

Although it is just graphics, and in the process of conceptualization, it also helps us to see some of the future of the next generation fighter. According to the plan, development of the 6th generation fighter will be completed by 2030, it will replace the F/A-18, which will be decommissioned by 2035.

After the development and widespread application of unmanned aerial vehicles, an idea came up, to create such a control system for fighter aircraft, so that it could be controlled remotely. There is no need for a pilot in the cockpit. Unmaned control, currently considered one of the most important features of the sixth generation fighter aircraft.

That’s not all. The plan is to create a flying vehicle that could easily bypass enemy electronic warfare systems. However, electronic warfare will also evolve, laser protection systems will be developed against unmaned aircraft.

As the experience of successful tests in the United States, a manned aircraft cannot cope with an artificial intelligence controlled aircraft. So far, these are only simulated battles, but with today’s technology advancement, this will surely become a reality soon.

Unmanned control will become the basic criterion for a sixth generation fighter

Sergey Khokhlov – head of the State Research Institute of the aviation systems – once said that, unmanned control will become the basic criterion for a sixth generation fighter. Other features are just the evolution of existing technologies, including hypersonic speed, stealth technology, high maneuverability, and possibly even energy-oriented weapon integration.

According to some experts, such a fighter jet in Russia could be the Okhotnik attack drone. In September 2019, Okhotnik successfully made its first test flight. It is expected to act as a sidekick of the Su-57. The construction of the new fighter will be a continuation of its experience in developing the promising fighter Su-57.

Not only in Russia, but in other countries, they are also thinking of such a plane. The pioneer is the United States, where leading aircraft corporations, mainly Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, have all come up with ideas and designs for sixth generation aircraft. Of course, China will also try not to fall behind.

In the UK, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo and MBDA are implementing the 6th generation fighter project under the order of the Ministry of Defense. BAE Systems’ promising Tempest aircraft, expected in the 2030s, will replace the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is the fourth generation fighter serving in the Air Force of several European countries and outside of Europe.

The similarities of the 6th generation fighter projects of all nations can be easily recognized. Unmanned controls are emphasized, this is also the main feature to distinguish the 6th generation fighter from the fifth generation.

In 5th generation fighters, super maneuverability and stealth technologies are among the most important characteristics. The 6th generation fighter will inherit and develop these qualities, while also acquiring unmanned control with artificial intelligence.

Most likely, the sixth-generation fighter might be able to shorten take-off time, thanks to its new engine and new take-off system, which would also become a key differentiator from the previous fighter and will greatly expand the applicability in combat.

Multi-role capabilities are also likely to become a distinct feature of the new aircraft. It will be able to perform the functions not only of a fighter but also an attack aircraft, allowing it to quickly resolve multiple tasks without affecting one fighter’s function or other functions.

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