What to Expect from Sixth-Gen Aircraft

The United States and several European nations are pursuing next-generation fighters. While many details are closely held or are still being fleshed out, a picture is starting to emerge of the capabilities they will possess.

A mockup of a Franco-German-Spanish stealth jet, part of the Future Combat Air System, or FCAS, was unveiled at the Paris Air Show in June. It came about a year after the United Kingdom displayed a model of a Tempest platform at the Farnborough Air Show. Across the Atlantic, the U.S. Air Force and Navy are planning to develop their own “next-generation air dominance” capabilities.

Survivability against sophisticated enemy air defenses is expected to be a key requirement of sixth-generation systems that might have to square off against advanced adversaries such as China or Russia.

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