Artificial Intelligence will be central to US Sixth Generation Fighter with Design analysis ramping up this year

Artificial intelligence will likely feature prominently onboard the Pentagon’s next-generation successors to the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

“AI is going to be huge,” said one U.S. Navy official familiar with the service’s F/A-XX effort to replace the Super Hornet starting around 2030

The U.S. Navy is scheduled to undertake an analysis of alternatives (AoA) for its F/A-XX next-generation replacement for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet starting in fiscal year 2015.

There are significant differences between the U.S. Air Force’s vision for its F-X air superiority fighter and the Navy’s F/A-XX, the two services agree on some fundamental aspects about what characteristics the jet will need to share.

It is possible that the AI would be a decision aid to the pilot in a way similar in concept to how advanced sensor fusion onboard jets like the F-22 and Lockheed Martin F-35 work now.

In September 2011, Boeing unveiled a sixth-generation fighter concept for the U.S. Navy and Air Force. It is planned to have supercruise and fly faster and further than the F-35 Lightning II. Boeing is self-funding the project until an official fighter program starts to have a design ready.

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 was published in a 2012 calendar, which was distributed to journalists.

Lockheed indicates possible technologies for a next-generation fighter should include “greatly increased speed”, more range, more stealth and new features like self-healing structures and multi-spectral stealth

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

The air force has been 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.

SOURCES- USNI, Boeing, Wikipedia, Flight Global