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What will 6th Generation fighters look like?

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posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 02:22 PM

Originally posted by Daedalus3
Fighters in space will only become a reality when non-orbital space(deep space?) will become lucrative 'territory'.
Orbital assets IMHO can be sufficiently defended and attacked with other orbital assets or terrestrial systems.
Infact I doubt space based fighters will ever be a reality.
More like space based capital class ships.
That too only 10th gen..
While I agree with your opinion that space fighters will only appear when they are damn well needed, I doubt the capital ship will be such a good idea. The bigger the machine, the bigger the target, I believe. It's just like why we don't have battleships anymore like we did in the 1940s: while the battleship is large and impressive to look at, "large and impressive to look at" a good war machine does not make.

As for generational number, I think space-based combat vehicles will reside in a class outside the 6th generation atmospheric fighter. While aircraft manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and their F-35 Lightning II might be making a jet-of-all-trades, trying to add "space fighter" to "fighter," "attacker," and any other job under the sun is asking too much of one airframe.

That being said, the first-generation space fighters will probably be designed as space-to-space missile platforms powered by either turbo-scramjets or turbo rockets, and will largely prey on satellites, much like how submarines were originally conceived to prey on ships. In time, space fighters will start turning on each other, and they will become agile and primed to take out other space fighters when necessary; hunter-killer space fighters, if you will. ASAT craft will comprise the first generation while hunter-killers will compose the second. Refinements and possible hybrids of space and atmospheric will probably make up the following generations.

As for the 6th generation atmospheric fighters, it's a safe bet that they will represent another step forward in speed, agility, stealth, range, and networking. Updated engine systems will probably be explored, and things like scramjet boosters might be explored, but probably only to extend operating range and either for quick insertion into or escape from a battlefield. An ISIS radar array like the kind proposed for large aircraft directly integrated into the jet's skin might give it the edge by turning radar from a big lump somewhere on the jet to an integration into the skin, freeing up space for more weapons, fuel, and other important and new things. I admit an ISIS array might be risky since getting a bullet to the fuselage might mess up the radar workings, but the rewards could outweigh those risks. Other technologies might be explored, such as refined unit networking, advanced helmet interfaces, and voice activation of certain commands. It might not be farfetched to also suggest the usage of aeroelastic materials for variable geometry layouts that eat up less space on the jet.

A big thing I think will happen is that both manned and unmanned packages of the same airframe will start to be offered. You could send up unmanned versions of this new fighter for suicidal ultra-deep strikes, or alternately, those boring-as-hell or painfully long and tedious sorties nobody would bother sending up a human for.

When talking about next-generation fighters, I would also think it would be prudent to talk about the next-generation fighter pilot. It's not just a question of what the fighter of the future will be equipped with, it's also a question of what the guys who fly them will need in order to master these brave new birds. After all, figher pilot equipment goes way, way beyond just the newest pair of speed jeans. Am I right?

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 06:53 AM
Nicely said, yes i think space is still probably the way forward, but considering we're scrapping the shuttles for the orion, we're sort of taking a step back to take a step forward. Having said that, I've been watching that new battlestar galactica program, now i'm not saying a sixth generation aircraft (or spacecraft) will look like them, but (minus the faster than light, robots etc) it's gotta be where we're heading over the next century or so, big space built cruiser ships and mining ships patrolling the solar system and gathering resources from other planets whilst being guarded by light weight fighters. I have no idea if we'll all be on the same side, but i suspect not, we've a long way to go on that front. We've certianly got the powerplants in early development already (ion drive etc), and the whole move to orion launchers was to start putting larger things in orbit and building them there rather than trying to launch heavy objects from the earths surface. Therefore i think our sixth generation and seventh generation aircraft (and beyond) will be more and more geared towards extra-atmospheric flight and high speed transit. China, Japan, Europe and the US are all gearing more and more towards space, with China gearing a greta deal of its development towards that end, so much as to have already designed "anti satellite" satellites. I think you can see where its all going....the small enemies on the ground are to small to need amazing stealth aircraft, the ones we have now are sufficient, but the big powers are looking up and off the planet.

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 08:30 AM
I suspect that we might see a differentiation between two classes of fighter: The air-superiority/multirole aircraft and the interceptor, but that differentiation might come in the number of seats it has. Let's take a look.

These days, many of the multirole or air superiory aircraft tend toward single seats. F-22 is single seat, F-35 is single seat, and Su-35 is single seat (so far) (Typhoon, Rafale, and Gripen all can come in 2-seater forms if memory serves me, although they come in single seat versions as well). Why is this? I'm not sure, although I might bet on cost of training two pilots for one aircraft yielding what is probably little gain.

With the development of AESA radar, and likely further development and fine-tuning as we progress to the next generations, we are faced with a much more capable but complicated system. As situational awareness increases, a pilot is going to be faced with a lot more information to deal with. Thus, I suspect that interceptors, should the line continue for the MiG-25 and MiG-31 (or perhaps a new line starts in the US), it will be in two-seater configurations. This is, of course, assuming that the system cannot be fully automated (or nearly so). However, my point is only that if capabilities increase, you have a great many duties (Mini AWACS and that general idea) which could be better served by the guy in the back than the guy flying the multi-million dollar a/c.

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 02:06 PM
I believe they already exist, my friends .... we just don't get to see the good stuff.

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 01:36 PM
I think 6th generation fighters won't be totally unmanned.

Unmanned flight and STRIKE isn't developed enough so far (and won't be untill the next generation). As I see it, 6th gen plane will be manned/unmanned or there will be two versions of each plane (manned and unmanned one). If so, aircraft will be able to flight in formation of, let's say, 3 aircraft. One of them will have a pilot, other two not. The unmanned ones would be totally autonomous and they would defend if attacked. BUT to strike a target they would need a pilot's permission. So the pilot would send them into action if it would be too risky and he/she would say exactly what to do.

Further on I think they would still be multi-role (OK maybe without interceptor role as Darkpr0 said).

They would definitely have thrust vectoring in both axes. That dramatically increases maneuvrability. Also the control surfaces will be larger (maybe canards + tail surfaces - everything all moving).

I'm not sure what would stealth be like in 6th generation fighter.

They will be all-wing designs. That dramatically increases lift, so there is less fuel needed. It also gives you much more space (at least in case of blended wing body design). That means more fuel or more missiles.

The planes won't be much faster. Maybe they'll have faster supercruise, but the top speed will be practically the same. Today combat aircraft can reach speeds of up to M2.5. Reaching M3 or M3.5 is hard, but for more you need ramjet!! And so high speed isn't needed in combat.

So, IMHO we can expect very nice aircraft.

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 06:21 AM

should be able to fight in all areas and orbits including space

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 06:36 AM
My picture showed is more realistic

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 06:56 AM
reply to post by emile

And you are probably correct my friend

by the time 6th gen comes around it will incorporate everything
including space travel

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 10:17 PM
reply to post by waynos

Fighter development has been paced by Engine Development. Example: WWI, as better engine came available, Better and more reliable Biplanes were made. WWII, Radial & Inline Engines Gave different Advantages for aircraft with different missions. Korea, The First Generation Jet engines (with severe Limitations) added near supersonic capabilities, and high subsonic Dogfights. Enter the GE J79 Turbojet used in the F-4 Phantom, next Gen Engine, Next Gen Performance. Next engine Development, The Pratt & Whitney F101 TurboFan, More air used in mix, more thrust, more efficient, much lighter moving Fighters into Thrust to Weight Ratio to 1 to 1, and above. Now the Pratt & Whitney F119 Thrust Vectoring Engine w/ Supercruise, now fitted to the F22 Raptor. WOW, I just Proved my point.

Scott Wilkins

posted on May, 21 2008 @ 02:35 AM
I agree with some of the previous comments that the need for "6th gen space fighters" will only come once economic forces dictate. It's impossible to beleive that we'll (humanity) stay on this little blue planet. We're already striping its resources. However I feel the differences in orbital/space fights will be dictated by where they are deployed from. In the case of a atmospheric/space hybrid fighter, advanced UAVs (UASVs?) I feel would be the most viable option. Fighters deployed from a spacebased station/base could possibly be manned. The big difference between the two is on has to make transitions from frictionless vaccum to atmosphere. To all those that remember when Colombia burnt up, it's a testament to the fragility of our spacecraft. If you're willingly putting a craft in harms way (which happens in war) then why not minimize your possible loses. Just like today's UAVs, if you loss one its hit to the wallet but no one really feels bad. Another reason for having hybrid air/space fighters be unmanned is that you're carrying up a lot less weight. Without a pilot there is no need for life support, avionics, or ejections systems (although one wonders what you'd do if you ejected into space). When getting into orbit weight is the name of the game. Its the reason why unassisted space planes haven't gotten off the drawing board (I'm looking at you Space Ship 1).

posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 07:21 PM
You shoud be a look on VF-1S Valkyrie from Macross/Robotech series...

Exclude the Battroid mode, and you have the PERFECT 6th Generation Plane

Their capabilities are:

Vmax: Mach 3.5 (sea level, fighter mode)

Carry a large weapon load


Space Combat Capabilities

posted on Aug, 4 2008 @ 10:40 AM
reply to post by BlackWidow23

It will be very likely that a variety of technologies will be used with the next generation of fighters. These will include more computer oriented controls and liqued crystal screens. Fly-by-wire, thrust vectoring, more advanced radar and avionics, and prehaps vertical take off. As for stealth technology, their are SAMs capable of defeating this and it has been demonstrated in the Balkans when an F117 was shot down so the age of stealth will come to an end. Now the human factor will still remain but much of his tasks will be assisted by advanced avionics so he can focus on the mission and possible combat. The vehicle may be space oriented such as a scramjet but most likely the two will be seperate designs and the 6th generation will be built for atmospheric flight.

posted on Mar, 24 2009 @ 10:39 AM
Yukikaze or veratech maybe?

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