The advent of fifth-generation fighters such as the F/A-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will bring about the third major change in the history of fighter aircraft technology, believes Ralph Heath, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

Heath told a briefing at Le Bourget yesterday that there had been two previous 'inflection points' in fighter technology - the first the appearance of manoeuvrable and sustained flight (1905) and the second, jet-powered fighters, which gained strategic importance during the Korean War.

"History tells us that sea changes are not always intuitively obvious when they occur," he says. "The change in technology or capability may be evident but it's only after the effect is understood that the change seems significant.


"The world doesn't yet fully understand the ramifications of bringing together stealth, speed, advanced avionics and manoeuvrability in these new fighters. The synergy of combining these capabilities and getting them in the hands of the pilot is going to bring changes greater than anyone has imagined.

"The F/A-22 and the F-35 will allow warfighters to do things that were previously considered impossible, and to think things that were previously unthinkable."

Source: Flight Daily News