The strike by the strikers of the F-35 should be a road ahead of the competition. It's stealthy. It's smart It connects to everything and everyone around him to give his rider an unprecedented picture of what's happening. So why does the US Air Force already want to replace it?
The war is changing rapidly.
Russia and China say they have already put new hypersonic missiles into operation. These can cover the land between Adelaide and Melbourne in less than six minutes.
China boasts the first electromagnetic railway cannon to be put into the sea. He's supposed to be able to shoot incredibly fast, driven, incredibly fast, incredibly accurate shots at incredible distances.
And everyone seems to be testing lasers for their ability to shoot down drones, missiles and planes.
The war for which the F-35 was designed may already be over.
Instead, the future seems to belong to drones, hypersonic speeds and artificial intelligence.
And these are elements that the US Air Force wants to incorporate into a new test fighter prototype.
Given the time it takes to make the F-35 work, it may not be too early.
SIXTH GENERATION "AUTOSERVIZIOSO"
The aerospace engineers did not stay to watch while the F-35 Lightning II crossed its pains at birth. They have addressed a concept called Penetrating Counter Air (PCA).
It is the structure for the next generation aviation superiority fighter. It is supposed to replace the current Raptor F-22 stealth fighters and the ever-growing F-1
"The Air Force is maturing technologies as well as assessing prototyping and demonstration activities as potential options," said the aviation spokesman, Captain Hope Cronin. Warrior Maven defense blog.
Exactly what form it takes remains a secret.
But at the beginning of last year, the US Air Force published a promotional video outlining what it says is its vision of the future.
elegant new fighter jet – simply dubbed "FX". It seems to move fast, very fast. And it is armed with a laser.
But he does not fly alone. With it is a bunch of robotic drones, closely linked in the network to coordinate in any act.
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To check this – and refine the plane if it is subjected at the immense heat and at the stress of hypersonic flight – it will be an artificial intelligence on board. It should be smart enough to make the "intelligent" logistics system of the F-35, ALIS, similar to that of a preschool child.
And again, the obvious emphasis is on sensors and weapons "on the net".
This depends on stable, secure connectivity, wi-fi internet.
It should be jam-proof. Hack trial. Try glitch.
"This will require much more in the design of the next generation of fighter aircraft than how fast and far it can fly – or what the number of weapons it can carry," said Deputy Leftenant David Deptula. Maven warrior. "It's about creating a whole self-sustaining system of systems with a greater degree of awareness of what an opponent can achieve, and a much larger level of survival."
And where the stealth and the integration of the sensor were the big challenges faced by the F-35, the next generation will have to do the accounts with heat and reliable AI.
Hypersonic flight is not easy. Vehicles must travel through the atmosphere at speeds that pierce the meteors. Keeping this job stable while maintaining its structural integrity – and maneuverability – under these extremes is the subject of ongoing studies.
While projectiles appear to have been controlled, flying drones – still manned vehicles alone – still face obstacles before they become reliable and safe.
This will largely depend on the IA. The necessary adjustments and balances must be done within a few milliseconds – much faster than a simple human can react
And there is another problem.
All the stealth radars in the world are useless if these planes get so hot from the glow in the infrared as a second sun!
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"To become observable low in multiple spectra, advanced skins manage the distribution of the heat of an airplane to foil radar, infrared and thermal sensing systems, "a NATO report entitled The Future of Combat Aircraft: reads on a sixth-generation aircraft. "These skins do it by distorting or eliminating heat distribution to restructure its thermal form, and they may also be able to heat or cool all parts of an aircraft's surface to perfectly fit the surrounding atmosphere, making it virtually undetectable. "
But the" FX "may not be hypersonic.
Instead, he can count on a new generation of radar and passive sensors to detect enemy stealth aircraft while hiding in the depths of enemy territory.
It all depends on what can be built, when – and for how much.
THE RACE IS ON
The US defense producers are already at work.
Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and Boeing & # 39; s Phantom Works.
All are the contenders of the sixth generation.
The money at stake will probably end up making the F-35, currently the most expensive defense program in history, insignificant.
"Other stealthy aircrafts, such as the B-2 bomber and the F-22 and F-35A fighters, have suffered cost increases t hat led to a decline in production rates and a decrease in total purchases" , warned the Congress budget office. "Cost containment for PCA aircraft could be similarly difficult."
A recent study presented at the United States Congress The cost of replacing today's aviation fleet attempted to calculate how much the government would have to put aside for the Penetrating Counter Air project.
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I'm back with a figure of $ US300 million ($ A415 million), one piece.
The F-35 currently stands at about US $ 100 million each
And Congress has been told that it needs a fleet of at least 414 of ultra-advanced jets.
"The aviation industry could decide that the design at the forefront of the PCA aircraft is inaccessible and instead opt for the purchase of more F-35A", explains the manufacturer. The Congressional Budget Office warns.
Or, he could continue to do what he is already doing: extend the life of older aircraft, updating their avionics and sensors – and hope that all potential oppositions will do the same.