Skip to comments.Lockheed reveals bold technology plans with 6th-gen fighter concept
Posted on 01/04/2012 8:02:11 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
Lockheed reveals bold technology plans with 6th-gen fighter concept
By: Stephen Trimble Washington DC
Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works division has revealed a conceptual next-generation fighter design that offers the first hints of an ambitious, long-term technology strategy for the new class of tactical aircraft that will emerge after 2030.
The concept - published in a 2012 calendar distributed to journalists - indicates the company will continue to seek new breakthroughs in performance despite the risk-averse culture of today's weapons buyers in the US military.
Featuring an F-22-like nose, an unusually contoured wing and nearly flat canted tails, the concept suggests a new level of speed and agility.
Lockheed also seemed to take a thinly-veiled shot at a next generation fighter concept released in September by Boeing, which showed a manned and optionally manned, tailless fighter with a conventional wing.
"Simply removing the pilot from an aircraft or introducing incremental improvements in signature and range does not constitute a generational leap in capability," Lockheed said in response to Flightglobal's questions.
"These improvements are already being looked att for our fifth generation fighters," the company added.
Instead, possible technologies for a next-generation fighter should include "greatly increased speed", more range and new features like self-healing structures and multi-spectral stealth, the company said.
Such capabilities must be supported by new breakthroughs in propulsion, materials, power generation and weapons, Lockheed said, adding some of these are "yet to be fully imagined".
Lockheed acknowledged that breakthrough performance will not come cheap.
"This will require another significant investment in research and development from a standpoint of time and money," the company said.
So far, USAF leaders have not been committal about plans for a sixth-generation fighter to replace the F-22 after 2030. The air force is instead focused on buying 1,763 F-35As to replace the F-16 and A-10 fleets. New development funding is largely devoted to fielding a next generation bomber by the end of the decade.
Meanwhile, the USAF has initiated the first steps towards working on a next generation fighter. In November 2010, the Air Combat Command asked companies to submit ideas for the technologies and performance for a new fighter that would appear in 20 years. The Air Force Research Laboratory also is funding research on basic technologies that could feed into a sixth generation fighter programme.
Skynet? (Terminator reference).
‘cause that “drone” thing worked so well in Iran.
I keep thinking of a story by Kurt Vonnegut where there is a constant war where both sides had pilotless weapons so smart that they fight each other to a stalemate, one side cannot gain any ground on the other and vice versa. Then somebody gets an idea of putting people back in the cockpits of aircraft as well as manned kamakaze missiles to reintroduce the human element that artificial intelligence always has a hard time predicting human actions and keeping up. It is called “The Manned Missiles” and was published in 1958.
Why don’t they just use the anti-gravity and inertial damping systems recovered at Roswell?
How much have the F-35 and F-22 cost?
You asked the 64 billion dollar question. With the chinese reverse engineering everything they can get their hands on it may be the production process that is the only secret. And that is largely a matter of how much they cost.
Norm Augustine, former CEO of Lockeed Martin
I need a like to the pic. The one in the story is broken.
That was what I was thinking..you would think in 2030 about ninety years after Roswell, Area 51 etc that they could have figured all that alien stuff out :)
With that attitude, we wouldn't have ever had aircraft, because they ALWAYS screw up.
It's a dangerous business.
Now, if there was a 80% failure rate on drones, I might agree with you that it's not quite time, yet.
But how many recent drone crashes, besides that one, can you name? How many air hours do drones have without incident?
Time to move forward and work out the problems, and make it work.
If Iran can bring down a state of the art US drone.
Russia or the PRC can hijack a US pilotless fighter, and perhaps even use it against us.
Re-start the F-22 production lines. NOW.
And Iran might have something there again too ... like last month...
for every advantage there a disadvantage...
and remote robot planes have weak link major disadvantage...
a data link that can be jammed, cut, or cracked....
a many million dollar plane that has all the keys to all you latest bleeding edge technology is something it might be wise to have some one in locally control(like a pilot)
Funny no one will every risk having a remote control pilot-less robot airliner...
not even if it only a cargo hauler...to risky.....
but put your national defense secrets at the same risk...no problem
Heck, in WWII, our torpedoes were mostly useless for a part of the war.
We didn't whine about it, we didn't say it couldn't be done. We knuckled down and figured it out.
Nobody is whining.
More than a bit of denial going on though.
Restart the F-22 lines.
Man right there is no guarantee of safeguarding the technology.
A master zeroize tac nuke, however, is. ;)
The planes keep getting faster and more agile but it’s the humans who have to catch up...we can only take so many G’s. I could imagine a turn so sharp it could snap the neck or pop out the eyeballs.
I believe the F22 has programmed fail safes which keeps the plane under certain parameters, otherwise the pilot will GLOC.
By the way, does it turn into a Robotech fighter?
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