This week Boeing plans to unveil an updated version of its sixth generation fighter concept, the F/A-XX at the Sea-Air-Space Expo in Washington, DC.
The tailless fighter will come in two flavors, both manned and unmanned, and looks sleek, fast, and incredibly maneuverable. While Boeing hasn’t released any technical details surrounding the project, one would imagine that the F/A-XX will be built around the Navy’s “Next-Generation Air Dominance” program.
The key goal of the Next-Generation Air Dominance concept is versatility. Any fighter developed for the program will be able to perform ground attacks, air superiority and reconnaissance missions. The Navy has also insisted that the fighter should “have greatly increased range and offer far superior kinematic performance compared to existing tactical aircraft.”
One interesting feature of the Boeing concept are the F/A-XX’s canards. Generally associated with a larger radar cross-section, engineers at Boeing must believe that removing the craft’s tail surfaces will compensate for any added radar detail provided
by the canards.
The expected roll-out date for whatever craft is born from the F/A-XX’s preliminary design is set for some time during the 2030s. At that point, the F/A-XX will replace the aging fleet of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers that has formed the backbone of the Navy’s air wing since 1999.
Fortunately for Boeing, as of this writing it is the only company that has submitted a design proposal for the sixth-generation fighter, making it the apparent winner by default. As more details about this craft arise, we’ll be sure to keep you posted.
Watch a Video of an F/A-18 Super Hornet in Flight:
Image Courtesy of Flight Global