Friday, June 19, 2015

Navy, Air Force to Develop Sixth-Generation Unmanned Fighter |

Navy, Air Force to Develop Sixth-Generation Unmanned Fighter | by Kris Osborn

Navy and Air Force developers are immersed in early conceptual work on a new, sixth-generation fighter aircraft designed with breakthrough technologies and an ability to perform for both manned and unmanned missions.

Few details are available about the new aircraft, called F/A-XX by the Navy, because the early work is at this point purely conceptual, said Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, Director of Air Warfare.

"There is an opportunity to field an unmanned system in the F/A XX program. We are collaborating with the Air Force on the technologies that would be required to operate an air system that gives us enhanced capabilities in the future," Manazir told reporters June 15.

Air Force senior leaders tell they are working closely with the Navy on future technologies but do not yet have a platform identified.

"We are actively engaged with the Navy on the capabilities required to achieve air superiority to 2030 and beyond. As always, we’ll need the capability to sense and characterize the battlespace, then command and control platforms and weapons, all while surviving. As of right now, that does not translate to a next-gen fighter," Maj. Gen. Paul Johnson, Deputy Chief of Staff, Requirements, Air Force said in a statement.

The new aircraft will, at least in part, replace the existing inventory of F/A-18 Super Hornets which will start to retire by 2035, Manazir said.