Boeing to leapfrog F-35 with 6th generation fighter?

Not sure what to make of this story. Aviation Week’s defence guru Dave Fulghum has come away from an interview with Boeing’s F/A-18 programme boss Bob Gower with news the company plans a more advanced Block 3 Super Hornet and is working on a “sixth generation” fighter. According to Dave, Boeing thinks this pair will make a better package than Lockheed’s “fifth-generation” F-22 and F-35.

So far, Boeing has avoided playing the generation game with Lockheed, although its Block 2 F/A-18E/F is widely and unofficially classified as “4.5 generation”. Dave suggests the stealthier, longer-range Block 3 Super Hornet would be “4.75 generation”. Boeing’s sixth-generation fighter, meanwhile, would be available around 2024 and would be even stealthier and longer-legged, he says.

It will be interesting to see what the US Navy makes of Boeing’s plans. So far, the Navy has stayed faithful to the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter despite its delays, and the only inkling of any future fighter plans has been a recent Navy reference to the Northrop X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator as a “critical step toward F/A-XX”.

Maybe they mean the FA-37, from the movie Stealth….


One Response to Boeing to leapfrog F-35 with 6th generation fighter?

  1. George 31 January, 2008 at 1:09 am #

    At this point Lockheed’s F-35 is barely an aircraft. It’s just an over budget, behind schedule experiment. At this rate by the time Lockheed manages to roll-out a working F-35 they’ll be obsolete. Maybe it is in best interest to be focusing on other fighters instead of wasting time with the F-35 boondoggle.

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