A roadmap and prompt implementation of steady upgrades could maintain a fighter plane advantage for the USA

Rob Weiss, executive vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs [aka Skunk Works] says US fifth-generation airplanes have distinct advantages over Russia and Chinese fifth generation planes.

Lockheed is now looking at technologies that would be needed to replace today’s fifth-generation F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters. But Weiss says such replacements aren’t needed anytime soon — and perhaps not for another three decades.

Lockheed believes the fifth-generation F-22s and F-35s are very capable versus a threat and substantially more capable than any fourth-generation airplane. However, a modernization roadmap for the F-22 and the F-35 will be needed to maintain that capability gap.

China’s J-20 and the J-31 look like the F-22 and F-35 respectively. Military experts say the resemblance is merely skin-deep. The guts of those copycat planes — the sensors and other high-tech electronics, and high-performance engines — are inferior to the U.S. originals.

The biggest issue is that China and Russia now have a faster design-build-test-learn-cycle than the USA.

The USA needs to get back to the speed of plane development in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

New planes should not be built with immature technology. Any new planes have to be far better than any upgrade that could be made to the F22 and F35.

Any sixth generation plane technology needs to be game changing.

SOURCES – Defense One