SAINT LOUIS, Missouri — Boeing Phantom Works has revealed a new concept image for an F/A-XX fighter to replace the F/A-18E/F fleet after about 10-15 more years. The two-seat, twin-engine, tailless concept is advertised in the chart below as a “sixth-generation” fighter. The notional — and evolving — definition for a sixth-generation includes such technologies as optional manning, combined cycle propulsion, visual stealth, more composite materials and advanced electronic attack capabilities.
Boeing’s new artistic concept marks a sharp departure from the image the company released in June 2008, which was first displayed on Aviation Week & Space Technology’s Ares blog. While the previous design showed a flying-wing fighter, the new image reveals a more conventional fighter shape from the cockpit area forward. You can see the changes below.
The F/A-XX concept first emerged last June, when US Navy officials first publicly discussed the potential requirement at the AUVSI convention in San Diego. Here are two pictures from that slide presentation showing the manned concepts on the USN officer’s briefing slide. (Read more here.)