The Amazing, Post-F-35, Photoshopped, Manned Fighters

09.07.09

Categorie: Air, David Axe, Reality Check |

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by DAVID AXE

“There are those that see [the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter] as the last manned fighter,” U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chair, said in May. “I’m one that’s inclined to believe that.” Mullen, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, and the good folks at General Atomics — which makes the highly successful Predator and Reaper drones — believe unmanned aircraft will take over the missions of manned ones.

But number-two aerospace firm Boeing disagrees — and so does the Russian aircraft industry, which is so devoted to manned fighters, that the Russian military might have to buy drones from Israel, as there are no domestically-made models. Now both Boeing and the Russians have new, post-JSF fighters, to show off. At least, they have artwork of post-JSF planes, pictured courtesy of the inestimable Steve Trimble.

The Russian art — supposedly depicting the mysterious PAK-FA “frontal fighter” — is pure fantasy, produced by an “industrial artist” and apparently inspired by the fantastical “F-19″ fighter that starred in a 1980s computer game and Tom Clancy’s novel Red Storm Rising.

The Boeing art, on the other hand, has something interesting to say. According to Trimble, Boeing’s “6th-generation” fighter could feature, in addition to today’s all-aspect stealth:

* Optional manning (in other words, optionally robotic)

* Combined cycle propulsion (subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic speeds, all with the same engine)

* Visual stealth (tough to spot, with the naked eye)

* More composite materials (with fewer parts, for ease of manufacture)

* Advanced electronic-attack capabilities (disabling enemy electronics, using the fighter’s radar)

Will the Boeing 6G fighter ever become a reality? The Navy is considering launching an F/A-XX program, to eventually replace today’s fighters, including the F-35. If F/A-XX moves forward — and that’s a big “if” — Mullen could be proved wrong.

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(Art: via The DEW Line)

Related:
How to Turn a Drone into a Dogfighter
Surveillance Orbits for From-Scratch Air Forces
Murtha’s Air Force: More F-22s and Tankers, Delayed F-35
What’s Wrong with the F-22?
Raptor Gets Congressional Reprieve
Offiziere.ch: the Emerging U.S. Counter-Insurgency Air Force
Congressional Budget Office’s Plans to Save the Air Force
Air Force Turns a Corner
Gates Budgetpalooza: Air Force Loses Altitude
The Day U.S. Air Power Was Saved from Itself

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18 Responses to “The Amazing, Post-F-35, Photoshopped, Manned Fighters”

  1. [...] David Axe notes that the aircraft companies and the Russians might have something to say about that and several of Matt Yglesias‘ commenters point out that the cultural affinity of the military, particularly the Air Force, for manned fighters will be hard to overcome.   One, Campesino, observes that the Navy is already working on an unmanned carrier bomber. [...]

  2. biggs says:

    The picture from sukhoi looks like somebody dropped an anvil on an F-22.

  3. marshall says:

    IMHO, any 6G fighter is probably going to be robotic/remote, with a human pilot option, rather than the other way around.

  4. Moose says:

    F/A-XX should go forward, but primarily just as a study for now.

  5. [...] The Flight Plan represents a new twist in a heated debate raging in Congress over the Pentagon’s 3,000-strong fighter force. The legislature is split over whether to fund more F-22 fighters — a move that could draw a veto from President Barack Obama. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has long favored drone development over buying more manned fighters, and in May Joint Chiefs chair Admiral Mike Mullen predicted Gates’ position would win out, over the long term. “There are those that see [the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter] as the last manned fighter,” Mullen said. “I’m one that’s inclined to believe that.” General Atomics, which makes the popular Predator line of drones, underscored Mullen’s comment by unveiling its new, faster Predator C. [...]

  6. [...] The Flight Plan represents a new twist in a heated debate raging in Congress over the Pentagon’s 3,000-strong fighter force. The legislature is split over whether to fund more F-22 fighters — a move that could draw a veto from President Barack Obama. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has long favored drone development over buying more manned fighters, and in May Joint Chiefs chair Admiral Mike Mullen predicted Gates’ position would win out, over the long term. “There are those that see [the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter] as the last manned fighter,” Mullen said. “I’m one that’s inclined to believe that.” General Atomics, which makes the popular Predator line of drones, underscored Mullen’s comment by unveiling its new, faster Predator C. [...]

  7. [...] The Flight Plan represents a new twist in a heated debate raging in Congress over the Pentagon’s 3,000-strong fighter force. The legislature is split over whether to fund more F-22 fighters — a move that could draw a veto from President Barack Obama. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has long favored drone development over buying more manned fighters, and in May Joint Chiefs chair Admiral Mike Mullen predicted Gates’ position would win out, over the long term. “There are those that see [the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter] as the last manned fighter,” Mullen said. “I’m one that’s inclined to believe that.” General Atomics, which makes the popular Predator line of drones, underscored Mullen’s comment by unveiling its new, faster Predator C. [...]

  8. [...] The Flight Plan represents a new twist in a heated debate raging in Congress over the Pentagon’s 3,000-strong fighter force. The legislature is split over whether to fund more F-22 fighters — a move that could draw a veto from President Barack Obama. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has long favored drone development over buying more manned fighters, and in May Joint Chiefs chair Admiral Mike Mullen predicted Gates’ position would win out, over the long term. “There are those that see [the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter] as the last manned fighter,” Mullen said. “I’m one that’s inclined to believe that.” General Atomics, which makes the popular Predator line of drones, underscored Mullen’s comment by unveiling its new, faster Predator C. [...]

  9. [...] Related: The Amazing, Post-F-35, Photoshopped, Manned Fighters How to Turn a Drone into a Dogfighter Surveillance Orbits for From-Scratch Air Forces Murtha’s Air Force: More F-22s and Tankers, Delayed F-35 What’s Wrong with the F-22? Raptor Gets Congressional Reprieve Offiziere.ch: the Emerging U.S. Counter-Insurgency Air Force Congressional Budget Office’s Plans to Save the Air Force Air Force Turns a Corner Gates Budgetpalooza: Air Force Loses Altitude The Day U.S. Air Power Was Saved from Itself No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  10. [...] Related: The Amazing, Post-F-35, Photoshopped, Manned Fighters How to Turn a Drone into a Dogfighter Surveillance Orbits for From-Scratch Air Forces Murtha’s Air Force: More F-22s and Tankers, Delayed F-35 What’s Wrong with the F-22? Raptor Gets Congressional Reprieve Offiziere.ch: the Emerging U.S. Counter-Insurgency Air Force Congressional Budget Office’s Plans to Save the Air Force Air Force Turns a Corner Gates Budgetpalooza: Air Force Loses Altitude The Day U.S. Air Power Was Saved from Itself This entry was posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 12:41 pm and is filed under No War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed. [...]

  11. I notice more and more future fighter aircraft have no tailplane, Boeing really do produce some superb aircraft. i wonder what type of propulsion is being developed for the future

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  13. Big H says:

    If you see a picture of a proposed US plane, we already have it 99.9% of the time….

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