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
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
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