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….