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Sixth Generation Fighter

Mikhail Pogosyan, the General Director of Russia's aircraft-building giant Sukhoi, stated that the sixth generation of the Russian combat aviation would be divided into eight different aircraft and concepts. These concepts were presented in MAKS Aviasalon 2011 that will take place from August 16th, 2011 to August 21st in Zhukovsky, Moscow Region, Russia. Six concepts were presented by Sukhoi Design Bureau OKB-51, one by Mikoyan and Gurevich Design Bureau and one concept by State research centre Zhukovskiy Central Aero-hydrodynamic Institute. The eight different aircraft and concepts had plasma stealth capabilities, anti-stealth capabilities, directed energy weapons, cyber attack capabilities, integrated self-protection, electronic attack and sophisticated integrated air defense systems. Russian Sixth Generation jet fighter was expected to enter service in the Russian Air Force in 2030-2050 timeframe.

Information on the sixth-generation fighter development in Russia, which in the future will replace the production of the test currently T-50 aircraft, appeared in the early 2010s. It was assumed that the new machine can be created by 2030. But Russia has yet to field an operational fifth-generation aircraft, and Moscow’s prospects for developing a sixth-generation warplane with hypersonic capability would seem to be fairly remote.

On the basis of what criteria would a new fighter be attributed to the 6th generation of aircraft? Among the main criteria are expert systems, autonomous flight. That is, the machine will not be managed by people, and the computer can automatically conduct remote interaction with people. However, there are experts in the field of aviation who say that the generation fighter 6 can be piloted. It is possible, experts admit, that the newest class of machines will be available in both technological implementations at the same time.

The version that is closer to American aviators is an unmanned concept and Russia, in turn, is one in which the aircraft will be controlled by humans. Designers from the United States, as noted in the number of sources, calculate that an unmanned aircraft would give fighters an incredibly high resistance to overloads, because the robot will be able to withstand them without any problems. The Russians, in turn, tend to believe that no computer would be able to operate the machine at the human level. In Russia there are many supporters of unmanned concepts. However, as noted by some experts, at this component the Russian engineers are somewhat inferior to Western counterparts.

One criteria for a 6th Generation aircraft would be the ability to overcome anti-air defense systems (missiles, decoys, etc.). The next criterion could be a disproportionately higher speed of the fighter compared to previous generations of machines. If now the fastest military aircraft flying at a speed of about 3 Mach, for the Russians the 6-generation development was expected to be able to overcome the threshold of Mach 5. In any event, truising speed (without the inclusion afterburner thrust) newest fighters, experts say, would definitely be supersonic. Also it will be able to accelerate much faster. Quite possibly, the cruising speed of the future fighter aircraft will be identical today afterburning speed - Mach 1.5-2.

One of the likely characteristics of the engines that are installed on superfast fighters - very high efficiency. Thanks to theis, the planes can fly without refueling for a long time, and therefore carry on patrolling at a large relative distances from their bases.

From a structural point of view 6 generation machine, as experts believe, will be very ergonomic. It is possible that the wing, for example, is mostly encased in the fuselage. There is a chance, experts say that fighters belonging to the 6 generation of the world will not be equipped with vertical fins. Perhaps at the heart of the aircraft design is the concept of "flying wing" (like the futuristic-looking B-2, which is on the US Air Force).

Russian sixth generation combat aircraft will be hypersonic, first flight is scheduled until 2025. This was reported on 09 June 2016 by TASS, citing the head of the directorate of military aircraft programs, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Vladimir Mikhailov. "He [prototype] rise into the air, as we plan, no later than two or three years after 2020", said Mikhailov. United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) expected to fly a hypersonic “sixth-generation” fighter before 2025. Mikhailov stated it was currently under research and development, including engineering design.

The general requirements for the aircraft are clear: the body is to be made of composite materials and it should attain high speeds and have the latest electronic warfare equipment, avionics, and a propulsion system. It is assumed that the speed of the aircraft will reach several times the speed o fsound, it will be single, super-maneuverable, multi-functional, and built of composite materials for stealth technology. At the same fighter may be used as a drone. "The aircraft will have a cockpit, but he will be able to fly as a pilot, and without it, that is, and will combine manned and unmanned variant", - said the representative of the KLA, adding that the aircraft is planned to equip long-range hypersonic missiles.

It is expected that the aircraft will be able to independently carry out combat missions. That is, the plane will be completely self-contained artificial Intelligence (AI), which the management will not be carried out from the control center continuously, as in the case of modern UAVs. "That is, the operator will only specify the target object to destroy and how to destroy them, the aircraft will solve itself," - said one of the developers of AI systems for aviation. At the same time, he stressed that if necessary (a large number of purposes simultaneously, the threat of destruction) AI will destroy their own goals, and then proceed to the implementation of the pledged jobs operator. If someone tries to intercept fighter control, the AI block external control channel and will automatically return to the base, or in a "safe zone."

The fact that the Russian aircraft designers began to sixth generation aircraft development became known in August of 2013. In July 2014, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) reported the company expected that the first national sample of sixth-generation fighter aircraft will be established around the second half of the 2020s. The US was working on sixth-generation fighter aircraft being developed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. It was expected that in 2030s, these machines will replace the aircraft of the fifth generation F-22, the Raptor, in service with the US Air Force, and carrier-based fighter 4th generation Navy F / A-18E / F Super Hornet.

In October 2014 the director-general of the Foundation for Advanced Research Andrey Grigoryev told journalists at the Open Innovations Forum that “Russian scholars have already started work on the creation of a sixth generation fighter jet. The new model will be manufactured from composite materials.” Grigoryev added “Our task is to lay the groundwork for the creation of a 6th generation fighter jet. Such projects are also now being considered. They are primarily associated with materials and engines”.

Many specialists from the aircraft industry or Russian Air Force have made repeated comments about the sixth generation fighter jet. They may be found in the statements of the UAC (United Aircraft Corporation) president Mikhail Pogosyan, and the remarks of the director of the UAC’s Military Aviation Programs Directorate Vladimir Mikhailov, the former commander of the Russian Air Force Pyotr Deinikin, and the honored USSR test-pilots Sergey Bogdan and Anatoly Kvochur. If all of their statements are summarized, the conclusion may be come to that work on such a project is being carried out but a common vision is yet to be worked out on how the aircraft must be or what tasks it will be called upon to perform.

The general approaches to the project are well-known. The aircraft's body will be made of a highly durable and lightweight composite material. The fighter jet must possess not only supersonic speed but must be able to attain hypersonic – over Mach 6-7 – speeds at certain stages of flight. Not every metal is capable of withstanding the heating of the fuselage at such a speed. This means that the creation of a new composite capable of meeting all of these requirements is necessary.

“Number Six” needs a new and powerful engine able to function not only in the atmosphere, but also in airless space. It is not excluded that one of the tasks of the new apparatus will be exiting into open space and flying in an orbital trajectory.

Also needed are a new antenna system and avionics system capable of functioning effectively and in a stable manner in all flight modes and all circumstances. The system should also maintain constant communication with ground and air command centres and spacecrafts. Finally the aircraft would needs an on-board electronic warfare system designed not only to suppress the communication and control systems of a probable opponent but also to neutralize air-to-air or surface-to-air missiles.

If everything regarding the “filling” of the aircraft and its lining materials is clear, then the main question is what a sixth generation craft needs to be like – manned or unmanned. An advantage for the unmanned craft is that there is an absence of risks to the life of a pilot, the preparation and training of whom costs immense sums of money and takes a rather long time. Moreover, a drone does not require a human life-support system on board and its time in flight is not tied to the physical capabilities of a pilot. However, a robotic drone, no matter how highly intelligent the electronic computing system it is equipped with may be, must be controlled from the ground by operator commands. And these, for various reasons, can fail to transmit or be delayed. This fact alone speaks to the advantage of a fighter jet operated by a combat pilot.

OKB "Sukhoi" began work on the creation of the sixth-generation fighter, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters on 02 March 2016. "New work today was summarized by OKB Sukhoi ... This is the idea to create the sixth-generation fighter, although even today are they are state testing fifth-generation fighter." - Rogozin said after the meeting on combat aircraft in the company "Sukhoi". At the meeting it was noted that at present the company "Sukhoi", together with other aircraft manufacturers implementing an extensive program to develop Sukhoi PAK FA (PAK FA), still known as the fifth-generation fighter T-50.

Besides India, which is creating a fifth generation fighter jet in cooperation with the Russian company Sukhoi, only a few countries are capable of making such an aircraft. Who will the sixth generation fighter jet be battling against? There’s the US, which already had F-22s and F-35s in the air – one of them even participated in bombing Islamic State terrorists in Syria. China has disseminated photographs of its fifth generation fighter jet on the web. It is very difficult to imagine any of these states, which incidentally have nuclear missile arsenals along with fighter jets, warring against each other. The risk of receiving a nuclear missile strike in response to aggression is simply too great.

Then against whom shall the fifth and later sixth generation fighter jet be used? There are no definitive answers. For now, the work on the creation of the “fighter jet of the future” is still on the design board and its designers, along with the military men ordering its production, need to come to a common understanding regarding the shape the future combat vehicle will take and the missions and targets that it, its weaponry, and its pilot will face in the future.

What kind of requirements show the Russian military to the next generation of fighters is unknown. Actually, the are machines being tested. Many of the systems conceived for it were not yet ready. Five T-50 fighter passed tests only prototypes. Each of these had different sets of equipment. Each was designed for testing of certain parameters. What would be the final production version, nobody knew as of 2015.

At a meeting on the development of military aviation Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that a fifth generation fighter T-50 PAK FA was okay, it already required a minimal design support. In connection with this the Sukhoi Design Bureau focused on the development of the sixth-generation fighter.

The effect of this message has decided to reinforce VKS commander-in-chief Colonel-General Viktor Bondarev, who said that Russian specialists are working on the creation of the seventh-generation fighter. It can be assume that this is the arsenal of newfangled hybrid war, as famous aircraft designers apparently did not know too much about the seventh-generation aircraft.

But on the sixth generation is not only possible but also need to talk. The fact that the appearance of the new aircraft is not far off. Sukhoi flying promises to create a prototype by the end of the 20s. The Americans intend to present a novelty in the 30s. And in this direction are going to move parallel courses and Boeing, and Lockheed Martin. We intend to "engage in a fight" and designers OKB Mikoyan. Also ambitious plans are in Chinese, French and Japanese.

There are no clear criteria as to what should be the sixth generation of the plane does not exist. There will have to be guided by what is already known about future developments, as well as common sense. Regarding the fact that the plans to make the Sukhoi Design Bureau, is not known. There are only sketched study, which introduced Dmitry Rogozin. But it is a "military secret" do not disclose.

Although the military futurologists express their vision of the problem. Many say that the aircraft must be hypersonic, that is, reach speeds of 5 Mach. And here is turbojet with afterburner can not do. It would take rocket boosters. Making their solid fuel - too expensive. Besides, it will not contribute to the normal execution of combat missions since the solid-Accelerator is designed for one-time activation. Using liquid taxiway too low-tech, low-boiling as refilling the engine components - it is too cumbersome task. In this case, departure alarm becomes problematic.

However, there are high-boiling components. But this RD designers take a lot of problems. Firstly, the two engines - turbojet and taxiway - a great fighter for the weight load. It is compounded by the fact that RD consumes an enormous amount of fuel and oxidizer, which is necessary to fill the plane.

There is another problem - the heating of the aircraft at hypersonic flight. Legendary bomber "Valkyrie", which did not go in series production, at a speed of 3 M warmed up to 3 thousand. Degrees. In this connection, it has been completely made of titanium and stainless steel. The same story was with the Russian T-4 missile, whose estimated speed was 3.2 Mach. At hypersonic speeds insulation housing i required. Actually, it was installed at American reconnaissance SR-71, which developed in the 3.4 rate of M. But this does not fully solve the temperature problem. It will be necessary to protect the turbojet engine from the superheated air coming from the air intake.

And one more fact exacerbates the problem. Sixth-generation aircraft, according to the common opinion, to be super-maneuverable. Existing rocket planes, hung with heat-shielding plates, is much easier to deal with overheating. By maneuvering gipersamolet will heat up further. As can be seen, the complex problems associated with hypersonic flight, is too significant. Therefore, it can be assumed that they will be resolved for the seventh generation of aircraft.

It should be borne in mind that stealth inherent in the fifth-generation aircraft for the sixth-generation has not been canceled. But it is at odds with the fact, as we said above. Stealth technology degrade performance of the aircraft. That perfectly illustrates the American fighter F-35, who still can not bring to mind. At the same time designers Lockheed Martin argue that the flexibility in their plane is not important. Emphasis is placed on early detection of enemy aircraft at its secretive position and preventive fire precision missiles.

So there is a compromise is inevitable: the stealth and agility are likely to be less than ideal. From what we can assume that each country will have its own aircraft, whose characteristics will be determined by the military, to develop the concept of application: what qualities the main, what can be a bit neglected. Actually, the same thing we are seeing now on the example of a T-50 Sukhoi and F-35 Lockheed Martin. Our maneuverable fighter. Americans rely on stealth, even though it in its present form is not a problem for the S-400 air defense missile systems to the more-500. At the same time, to reflect distant missile attacks which rely on Americans, T-50 need not prohibitive maneuverability.

It is assumed that the aircraft of the future will be able to work in the close space. For a rocket engine is unproblematic.

It is quite clear that the new machine should have artificial intelligence. And more advanced than the one that is present in the drones that are managed by operators. The aircraft must make their own decisions on the battlefield. Still, without a human presence here not to manage. The fact that the connection with the operator surface further than at a distance of 200-300 kilometers not realize simple, even when using aircraft and satellite repeaters. Because here it plays the role of communication and reliability in terms of massive military operations.

Thus emerges the concept that the same aircraft will be produced in two versions - unmanned and manned. Under this option, the group takes off on a mission UAVs will be accompanied by a manned vehicle. At the same time, an unmanned variant is more preferable, because this aircraft is capable of flying at much greater congestion than those that can withstand the pilot.

And finally, two more qualities without which it can not do the future of the aircraft. It must be equipped with more effective weapons. Free falling bombs will be charged. Among the missiles should prevail hypersonic high maneuverability. And with such a level of intelligence that allows to easily beat the currently existing air defense systems. Perhaps the appearance of the laser and electromagnetic weapons.

Also significantly increased interoperability requirements of each specific aircraft based on multi-level computer communication not only with the aviation unit aircraft, but also participating in combat ground forces with naval forces, air defense and so on., And so forth. That is the principle of network battles will be implemented, in which the crucial role played by communication systems and computers.

Almost all participants in the race for the creation of the first sixth-generation aircraft in the portfolio are only a concept and sketch drawings. However, the US is against this background lead. The Boeing Company, angry at Lockheed Martin for the lost tender for the F-35, with a healthy anger burst forth. Her project is called the F / A-XX. It is expected that this new product in the 30 years to replace the deck fighter F / A-18E / F Super Hornet.

The first prototype mock-up was presented for review in 2009. He was then a major redesign. And the new layout was introduced in 2013. The airframe is a flying wing without the vertical fin. This version was accepted on the grounds that the keel provides additional aerodynamic drag. Rotation is carried out by small rudders located on the wing. Apparently, during straight flight control surfaces are cleaned and are available only on bends.

The type of engine is not reported. But it can be assumed that it is still TPD and not RD. It. as well as on the fifth-generation fighter, provides the supersonic cruising flight in besforsazhny mode. Maximum speed is not specified. But probably it will not hypersonic.

To a significant novelty concerns "smart skin" - the body of the aircraft is not only packed with all kinds of sensors and avionics. Plane double with two engines. Also worked out version of the unmanned vehicle. The maximum takeoff weight is declared at the level of 45 tons, the range - 3000 km.

Work on the creation of unmanned and manned version of the sixth-generation fighter are conducted in parallel, Chief of the videoconferencing Colonel General Viktor Bondarev told journalists 12 August 2016. "Of course, at the same time", - he said, responding to a question. "Work in this direction are in our country, and abroad We have excellent design offices, aircraft industry I think the sixth generation is not far off..," - Said Bondarev. Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that the Sukhoi Design Bureau presented the first design for the sixth-generation fighter. In 2014, the United Aircraft Corporation stated that the first such aircraft will be built in the second half of the 2020s.




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