Similar to many other sectors, the lead up to 2020 will be shaped by increasing digitization. From increasing risk of peer conflict to the rise of urban warfare, and increasing great power competition, the defense sector faces many challenges that must be approached responsibly. Indeed, government, industry and the military must collaborate to deliver meaningful change to ensure that overmatch is maintained in all areas, over potential adversaries.
Defence iQ asked industry stakeholders and thoughts leaders about the upcoming trends, developments to look out for and bold predictions. From worsening relations with Russia to the anti-drone conundrum, and even the applicability of neuroscience in the context of defense.
Highlights from the FY2020 Air Force Budget! The U.S. Air Force is requesting $165.6 billion in fiscal 2020, an increase of about $10 billion more than FY19 that the service intends to use to advance readiness as well as spearhead technology development. Out of this budget, $57.7 billion will be used to procure a wide array of aircraft and solutions needed to ensure air dominance for the foreseeable future.
In addition, a considerable amount, roughly $15 billion will be invested in expanding, modifying and complimenting their 5th generation fighter. Though experts expect the 6th generation of fighters to start replacing F-35s as early as 2030, the budget numbers listed in this infographic re-affirm the Air Force’s commitment to 5th generation fighters. Download this USAF fighter budget at-a-glance to find out exactly where the Air Force plans to invest their procurement budget in 2020 and how these investments, as well as those in R&D, will help close the gap between the 6th and 5th generation fighters.
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Though the 5th generation of fighters have yet to be fully deployed, the United States Air Force (USAF) and United States Navy (USN) are already hard at work developing the 6th generation of fighters under, respectively, the ‘Penetrating Counter-Air' and FA-XX programs. As of now, they expect to begin fielding the 6th generation fighter as early as 2025-2030 and Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Northrop-Grumman have already unveiled sixth-generation concepts.
Though a number of hardware and equipment upgrades are expected, the true differentiator between the 5th and 6th generation fighter will be software. Paradigm-changing air-fighter technologies such as autonomous systems, AI and accelerated real-time analytics could potentially revolutionize warfare as we know it. As one of our keynote speakers, Lt. Gen. (R) David Deptula explained to War Maven, “We are moving into a future where aircraft need to be looked at as not just elements of their own, but as a system of information nodes - sensor - shooter - effectors. It is about creating an entire system of systems that is self-forming and self-healing with a greater degree of awareness than an adversary can achieve, and a much greater degree of survivability.”
To give you a glimpse into the future of air dominance, we highlighted some of the key capabilities and features expected to define the 6th generation fighter in this infographic.
Agile Combat Employment Concept And Operation In Multi-Player Theaters
Discussing The Case For Fifth Generation Airpower
Measures To Maximize The Deployment And Usability Of Light Attack Fighters
Inventing the Future: Munition Technology Solutions for Advanced Fighters
United States Air Force Operational Perspective And Needs For The Future Fighter
Addressing The Challenges and Vision Of The Brazilian Air Force
The Royal Canadian Air Force’s Vision For Replacing Its Boeing CF-18A/B Hornet Fleet
Suppression Of Enemy Air Defenses With 4th And 5th Generation Fighters Through Multi National Operations
Strengthening Alliances and Partnerships in Multi-Generational, Multi-Domain World
Poland’s Air Component Command vision for future fighter cooperation
TECHNOLOGY: Advancing USAF Mission Readiness Through Multi-Disciplinary And Multi-Generational Fighter Training
The Royal Netherlands Air Force Modernization Efforts For The Advancement Of Its Air Power And Its Vision For The Future Of Fighter Capabilitie