Northrop Grumman Corporation, the American global defense and aerospace technology company, has recently revealed a concept drawing for their new sixth-generation fighter design. This sixth generation aircraft will be unlike any other fighter before it. Despite the fact that the fifth-generation F-35 has recently just started production, designers are already eager to get a head start on designing the airplane which will replace the F-15E Strike Eagle, F/A-18EF Super Hornet, and F-22 Raptor.
Having been through nearly 20 years of development already, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has seen and experienced several changes. Over the past 20 years, we have been able to establish a significantly better understanding of stealth as well as counter-stealth technologies, subsequently affecting the design of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Northrop Grumman’s most recent design features a tailless fighter. The cockpit and nose of the sixth generation fighter jet will be similar to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, while the wings of the aircraft will be similar to those of the X-47B unmanned aerial vehicle. The fighter jet will be very large in order to carry large amounts of fuel, as the F-35 has received criticism for its relatively short range which could potentially put American aircraft carriers within range of conflicting DF-26 as well as DF-21 carrier-killing ballistic missiles.
Northrop Grumman’s latest design, similar to the F-22, will almost certainly be capable of cruising above the speed of sound, though it is unlikely to be a dogfighter. The aircraft’s size will better enable it to utilize long-range radars and missiles in order to destroy opponent aircrafts, before they can even come into range for dogfighting to occur. The fighter aircraft will most likely utilize its stealth, advanced networked sensors, as well as speed in order to detect an enemy aircraft, gain a positional advantage over this aircraft, and then ultimately attack the said aircraft.
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