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6th Generation Fighter Meta Thread

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posted on Jan, 10 2019 @ 07:02 PM
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So is this "6th gen" going to be a AF bird or a Navy/Marine Corps Bird? The F-35C is going to be a great aircraft but it doesnt have the legs the F-14D had, or what the Super Tomcat 21 could've had.

Or what any follow on experimental prototypes might have.




posted on Jan, 10 2019 @ 07:10 PM
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a reply to: StratosFear

F-X and/or Penetrating Counter Air is/are the Air Force bird(s). The overarching program for the USAF is called NGAD: Next Generation Air Dominance. The AOA is done, but not public. The NGAD was funded at $500M for FY19. FY20 was projected to be $1.3B. We'll see though: the stupidity of Shanahan's F-15X and the deadlock in DC might endanger this.

apps.dtic.mil...

FA-XX is the Navy bird. The navy is only funding it at $5M/year and their AOA won't be done for a while (they keep kicking it down the road). There is talk the FA-XX might get split to replace the F/A-18E/F /and/ build an interceptor like the F-14. However, talk is cheap.

The Franco-German next gen aircraft is called the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) and the British one is called the Tempest. Whether or not the Japanese F-3 is a 5th or 6th is up in the air. The CHinese have started their follow-on to the J-20 and the Russians are putting out gunk press releases: 6th gen testing in the SU-57 (possible) and started the 7th gen (wth?!)
edit on 10-1-2019 by anzha because: added budget link



posted on Jan, 10 2019 @ 07:14 PM
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a reply to: anzha






He who Blinks First , is a Dead Man ....



posted on Jan, 11 2019 @ 09:00 AM
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Lots of stuff is just plain wrong in that video.

The 6th gen won't be faster, for example.

So, my cards on the 6th gen:

1. More stealth. An era of whomever is seen will die is coming.
2. more efficient jet engines
3. less maneuverability (furball is done, folks)
4. extensive use of machine learning for offloading from the pilot
5. interaction with and control of drones (mothership concept, sorta)
6. use of nonradio communications (laser comms)
7. directed energy weapons
8. increased range (see below)

It will not be/have:

1. supermaneuverability
2. hypersonic
3. an ssto

There will be a divergence between the European and Japanese fighters vs the American and Chinese: the Chinese and Americans need to fight across vast distances (Guam to Hainan is over 2300 mi/3700 km) and tankers are (even with self defense lasers) vulnerable. The Europeans might need ranges of up to 800 mi, but I doubt even that much. The Senkaku Islands are 550 miles from Kyushu. The Russians need what the US and China will be making but probably wont be able to afford it. I expect the US/Chinese aircraft to be much larger. The Euro style probably wont be much bigger than the F-22, if at all.

BTW, F-22 dry weight is about 43k lbs. F-111F is 47k lbs. F-15C is 28k lbs. The Raptor is 90% of a 'vark and almost 50% more than an Eagle. The B-58 was 55k lbs...



posted on Jan, 11 2019 @ 11:00 AM
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a reply to: anzha




The 6th gen won't be faster, for example. 


Might not have a higher top speed, but will spend a lot more of the mission profile at higher speeds than a Raptor, F-35, etc

Not sure we're that close to offensive DEW's.

There is always a desire for nose-pointing and maneuverability. Maneuvering may be optimized for supersonic regimes at the expense of subsonic agility which might lead to some counter -intuitive things regarding wing-loading, etc, but I wouldn't completely rule out supermaneuverability either.

Laser comms already exist.

But overall, I think you've nailed it.



posted on Jan, 11 2019 @ 12:22 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert


Might not have a higher top speed, but will spend a lot more of the mission profile at higher speeds than a Raptor, F-35, etc


Um.. Maybe. I can see why you say that, but I think it really depends on how the ADVENT and other advanced engines will work.

Honest, nonbaiting question: is supercruise compatible with the ADVENT?


Not sure we're that close to offensive DEW's.


A defensive DEW that can shoot down hypersonic AAMs will be able to function offensively, within a ~ 10+ mile range for kills against aircraft and further for burning out the other guy's DAS EO/IR systems.

Also, a HNB question: could the advent engines end up making the shorter range fighters actually /smaller/? If you need only 80% of the fuel to get the same range? While I'd consider the extra range nice, but as you have observed in the past, size matters when it comes to costs.



posted on Jan, 11 2019 @ 12:25 PM
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I don't know that I would count out a furball just yet. We still pop in to investigate a lot of aircraft that wander in the wrong places.



posted on Jan, 11 2019 @ 12:30 PM
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a reply to: Flipper35

A pointer tracker system gets a solid lock almost every time there days. You flick on a laser and ...done. (re: shield systems, THEL and MIRACL, but those last two were ancient tech).

Even before lasers, the helmet queuing systems make a furball obsolete and make it highly likely a mutual kill will take place.



posted on Jan, 11 2019 @ 01:13 PM
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originally posted by: anzha

Honest, nonbaiting question: is supercruise compatible with the ADVENT?

Why wouldnt it be?
The whole point of ADVENT is that it is optimized for both high efficiency and speed.
Since they want to put the first Iteration on the F-35 eventually, speeds up to Mach 2 in itself shouldnt be an issue.

The rest depends on the platform as it already does.
I can see them bulding a larger PCA platform on just one ADVENT engine and ending up without a high Mach supercruise capability.



Also, a HNB question: could the advent engines end up making the shorter range fighters actually /smaller/? If you need only 80% of the fuel to get the same range?

Smaller than what? If you want to carry weapons internally i dont think you would get smaller than an F-16.

But thats at least twenty years down the line, isnt it? The US wont build a smaller fighter since theey need as you pointed out all the range they can get. And i dont think Europe will field a variable cycle engine comparable to ADVENT with whatever FCAS will result in (if anything). Its engine will be developed by Safran Aircraft Engines and MTU Aero Engines.
They simply lack the neccessary R&D to quickly catch up to RR und GE.



posted on Jan, 11 2019 @ 01:41 PM
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originally posted by: mightmightWhy wouldnt it be?


I've not heard the USAF state supercruise is a priority in a long, long time.


The whole point of ADVENT is that it is optimized for both high efficiency and speed.


Yes, but the long range mode and the high speed mode are mutually exclusive, iirc. Supercruise, while more efficient than using afterburners, may not be a capability that has really turned out to be important because it burns too much fuel.


Since they want to put the first Iteration on the F-35 eventually, speeds up to Mach 2 in itself shouldnt be an issue.


Mach 2 and supercruise are not the same thing. The F-35 doesn't supercruise. And do you have a source stating the F-35 does Mach 2? Everything I've seen is Mach 1.6, but I've not looked.


I can see them bulding a larger PCA platform on just one ADVENT engine and ending up without a high Mach supercruise capability.


Just one ADVENT?


Smaller than what? If you want to carry weapons internally i dont think you would get smaller than an F-16.


The F-16 is ~19k lbs. The F-22 is 43k lbs. There's a huge difference there.



But thats at least twenty years down the line, isnt it? The US wont build a smaller fighter since theey need as you pointed out all the range they can get.


I think the F-35 is the last manned 'low end' fighter the US will be building, IMO.

Purely my speculation, but I think we'll see a Gen 5.5 with a F-35D and that will be it. Everything manned after that will be big, beefy PCA or some such.


And i dont think Europe will field a variable cycle engine comparable to ADVENT with whatever FCAS will result in (if anything). Its engine will be developed by Safran Aircraft Engines and MTU Aero Engines.
They simply lack the neccessary R&D to quickly catch up to RR und GE.


Last I checked, despite their weird voting, RR counts as Euro since they are Brits. And I assume RR will be building the engine for the Tempest. IDK if Safran will have the tech though, tbh.



posted on Jan, 11 2019 @ 02:20 PM
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a reply to: anzha

The whole reason to have a variable cycle engine is to optimize the air/mass flow through the core and thereby get an optimal efficiency. At subsonic speeds in particular, a high by pass ratio steals energy/velocity from the exhaust. It uses it to drive more air around the core which increases the mass flow/thrust at the expense of exhaust velocity. This results in higher efficiencyat the lower part of the envelope. BUT at higher speeds, you need higher exhaust velocity to produce the same thrust. If you have a GE-90 it has a huge mass flow, but (comparatively) low exhaust velocity. So at supersonic speeds, you'll actually need more fuel burn to create the same a mount of thrust as a low bypass ratio engine which pushes more mass through the core very quickly.

This is what people mean when they say an aircraft engine is tailored to a specific speed regime. Also, the bigger your fan, the longer it takes to spool up(or down), so combat fighters don't use huge by pass ratios even though they spend most time subsonic. They need responsive engines able to spool up quickly for throttle response. The F-22 was designed with suoercruise in mind. So it doesn't have a high bypass ratio. The F-35's engine uses the same core, but has a bigger fan and higher bypass ratio so it produces ~5k more thrust than a F119, but at higher speed will need to burn more gas to produce the same thrust that a F119 would at that speed. At lower speeds, the F135 will burn less fuel for the same thrust.

The whole point of a variable cycle engine is to be able to adjust the mass flow around the core or into it as needed. At high speeds, you push all the flow through the core becoming a turbojet, functionally. At lower speeds, you trade exhaust velocity for mechanical power that drives the fan pushing more air for more thrust around (bypassing) the core.

So, yes, a variable cycle engine pushing most or all of the air through the core is going to be more efficient in supercruise than an engine with a high bypass ratio which reduces fuel burn at lower speeds.

Can you make a fighter smaller with more efficient engines? Yes, but there is still a size constraint because fuel is hardly the only thing you need to carry. You'll also need internal carriage and thermal management is already proving to be a bitch in the F-35 size, etc.



posted on Jan, 11 2019 @ 03:07 PM
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what RadioRobert said



Mach 2 and supercruise are not the same thing. The F-35 doesn't supercruise. And do you have a source stating the F-35 does Mach 2? Everything I've seen is Mach 1.6, but I've not looked.

I just made that comment to say that an ADVENT engine would be able to function in the supersonic regime since they plan to put the first Iteration on a jet fighter, its not an engine intendend for just subsonic flight (like it will probably be used on the B-21).
I did not want to imply that F-35 can supercruise on its current engine or is capable of reaching Mach 2.
The F-35 can hold Mach .9 in level flight and go supersonic in a very slight dive as far as i know.
An engine with a slightly better performance like ADVENT may very well be enough to get it there. But it would be little more than a gimmick anyway.



Just one ADVENT?


Why not? The B-21 is supposed to get by with two afterall.



Last I checked, despite their weird voting, RR counts as Euro since they are Brits. And I assume RR will be building the engine for the Tempest. IDK if Safran will have the tech though, tbh.

Yeah but the Brits have nothing to do with FCAS and i dont see them joining the effort.
And I've said this before - Tempest is a pipedream that will go nowhere. Even if Brexit doesnt screw them economically, they wont be able to finance the development and procurement of an indigenous nextgen aircraft. Not without sacrificing the rest of the Royal Air Force anyway.
They would need to find partners willing to back them up financially, but the list of possible and viable candidates is awfully short.



posted on Jan, 11 2019 @ 05:29 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

Team Tempest will be okay if/when they merge with the other continental effort. If they can't come to terms, both will suffer.



posted on Jan, 12 2019 @ 12:20 AM
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And I've said this before - Tempest is a pipedream that will go nowhere. Even if Brexit doesnt screw them economically, they wont be able to finance the development and procurement of an indigenous nextgen aircraft. Not without sacrificing the rest of the Royal Air Force anyway. They would need to find partners willing to back them up financially, but the list of possible and viable candidates is awfully short.

Unless they pool resources from the rest of their Commonwealth.Forget Brexitt and Europe,they did have an Empire once.



posted on Jan, 12 2019 @ 05:58 AM
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a reply to: Blackfinger
There is an argument there but it would require commitment and dollars (as these things naturally do), and more importantly shared goals and performance because without it there can be no joint development. The two most natural candidates for joining the UK Tempest effort would be Canada and Australia. The US and India would be possible rank outsiders but for various reasons I wouldn't count on them. The US already has efforts like PCA underway and India...,well India is just India.

Canada and Australia both present program challenges,
Canada is still dragging its heals and frankly doesn't have a reason at this stage to develop an offensive aircraft, hell they cant even lay the groundwork or find impetus to replace the Hornet fleet yet. They would need a reason to get back in the fighter development game and the only thing I can see spurring that would be a desire to stick it to the US.

Australia presents other challenges. There is an increasing awareness and desire to counter the shadow of the Chinese threat in the Asia/Pacific region, and a growing realization and uneasiness that the US might not always be there to back up some of the democracies in the region against Chinese aggression. This has seen such programs as an expanded submarine force and ability to construct such complex systems onshore as well as maintenance of surface combatant hulls. However the aerospace sector has waned somewhat since the days of the CAC/GAF and ASTA. It would however not take too much further deterioration in the Asia/Pacific for Australian Governments to see an urgent need to obtain an onshore domestic design and production capability for more complex aerospace systems and this is where an effort like the Tempest would come in. It is highly unlikely that a cold start would work, (for anyone these days) therefore a collaboration would be vital. Assuming Britain was willing to accept Australian specs then it would be a good fit. The problem however is that Australian requirements would be likely much closer to US ones than British ones, unless of course Britain saw advantage in a very long range and capable Air dominance platform capable of very deep interdiction against strategic type targets, exactly the kind of thing the US will probably look at.

This would of course serve Canadian interests as well although Canada will need a reason to want that kind of capability again and I cannot see Russian aggression in parts of the Baltic or Eastern Europe being enough of an excuse to warrant that kind of joint investment. So with notable mentions like Singapore and maybe Japan I actually think its more likely that the the UK might join a US effort, possibly with other second tier partners joining them such as Australia, Singapore and maybe Canada. This would be similar to the JSF effort but with the UK taking a much greater responsibility and the other players moving up a rung or two in comparison.



posted on Jan, 12 2019 @ 06:09 AM
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a reply to: thebozeian

air 6000 phase 2c will be a good entry point for Australia into Tempest.



posted on Jan, 12 2019 @ 06:33 AM
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a reply to: C0bzz
Yes it would, it will be interesting to see when that happens and how much the changing strategic situation influences it. Originally phase 2c was set for a 2015 decision gate but for many reasons didn't happen. I can see the possibility of a Tempest or even PCA teaming happening.



posted on Jan, 12 2019 @ 12:24 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

I don't see any foreign participation in the PCA.

The F-35 has taught many lessons.

And China has stated so long as the US does not export its top fighter, China will not.




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