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.
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