WASHINGTON - The US Air Force on March 22 released a video showcasing the abilities of its conceptual sixth-generation fighter jet, which is also hailed as the Next-Generation Air Dominance or Penetrating Counter Air.
In the video we can see the sixth-generation fighter jet, also known as F/X, firing a high energy laser that cuts another fighter in half. The power of the jet is still unclear, however, it is speculated that it will have longer range, larger payload and will be able to switch between a manned and an unmanned aircraft. The fighter is estimated to travel at hypersonic speeds, and can also be loaded with hypersonic weapons.
The US Air Force is yet to decide on who’s going to develop such a highly-specified aircraft, but officials expected its services to likely start around 2030. A statement released by Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) website, read, “In order to defend America, we need your help to innovate smarter and faster…Our warfighters depend on us to keep the fight unfair and we will deliver.”
The statement also added that the AFRL community will hold several events at universities across the US this spring and summer, where it will interact with various scientific communities, higher education and business.
The video released by AFRL also features the Air Force’s “Loyal Wingman” initiative, in which a manned fighter jet can undertake and control a swarm of attack and surveillance drones. The video also contains DARPA’s “Gremlin” program and the Air Force’s Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project, a missile potential of causing an electronic blackout.
Since 2015, the US Air Force has been suggesting ideas about mounting lasers on planes and jets, such as AC-130s, and F-15s and F-16s. As per a report in the Business Insider, the US government recently awarded a $26.5 million contract to Lockheed Martin for developing lasers for fighter jets.