US Air Force Hints at Next-Gen Fighter Jet’s Capabilities in Latest Video
A recently released video, created by the Air Force Research Laboratory, provides indications of what a sixth-generation fighter jet may be capable of, including possible design features and weaponry. The video is designed to draw attention to the organization’s Science and Technology 2030 initiative, which aims to use technological innovation to prepare the military for the future.
[Scroll down for video]
As reported by Business Insider, the next-gen fighter featured in the video, known as the F-X, is a conceptual design, shown as a digital rendering.
In the clip, the F-X can be seen firing a weapon that appears to be a high-energy laser, obliterating a targeted enemy aircraft.
The Air Force has expressed interest in mounting lasers on aircraft, such as the F-15, F-16 or AC-130, since at least 2015.
A $26.3 million contract was even awarded to Lockheed Martin in late 2017 to develop such a weapon. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) hopes that testing on the resulting high-energy laser design can begin by 2021.
At this time, the capabilities of the F-X, also known as the Next-Generation Air Dominance or Penetrating Counter Air, will ultimately possess. Some speculate that the aircraft will have an extended range and the ability to carry larger payloads as well as function as both a manned and unmanned aircraft. There is also talk that the F-X may be able to reach hypersonic speeds.
A developer for the F-X has yet to be selected, but the Air Force hopes it will be ready for service by around 2030.
The Science and Technology 2030 initiative is also reaching out to the larger population for ideas on potential innovations.
“We can’t afford to slow down,” the AFRL website states. “As our adversaries close the technology gap, we need to push the boundaries of what’s possible and invent the future.”
The AFRL asserts that it intends to “listen and learn from the scientific community, higher education and business professionals through a series of conversations and outreach events” that are scheduled for this spring and summer.
“In order to defend American, we need your help to innovate smarter and faster,” says AFRL on their website. “Our warfighters depend on us to keep the fight unfair and we will deliver.”