Now this is interesting...via Reuters...
Germany plans to develop a new fighter jet to replace Tornado jets in the long term and it aims to hold initial talks with European partners in 2016 about what features they want in the aircraft, according to a document seen by Reuters on Sunday.Hmm. So the Germans are looking to replace their vaunted strike fighters. This makes a decision to proceed with the F-35 even more iffy. Everyone says that we're living in a "1930's" type timeframe.
A draft document from the Defence Ministry on 'military aviation strategy' said it was still unclear whether the new jet would be manned or unmanned. It said it was also possible that the jet would be designed for both options and then be flown with or without a pilot depending on the type of deployment.
As it would be a European project, it is likely that one or more European companies would be chosen to develop the jet. The Tornado jet, which Germany has been using since 1981 - although it now also has the newer Eurofighter jet - was also made in an international consortium called Panavia.
At the same time, Germany's armed forces are looking into whether it would be possible to extend usage of the Tornado jets into the mid-2030s, the paper said.
The Tornado jets had been due to be phased out in the mid-2020s.
A spokesman for the Defence Ministry said the document had not yet been agreed with the other ministries so he could not comment on it.
I strongly agree.
I don't think people are taking it to its logical conclusion. During the 1930's we saw the tank evolve to become a battlefield monster. Airplanes lost a wing, were being made of metal instead of canvas and on the high seas we saw the demise of the battleship and the rise of the carrier.
I think we're on the verge of something similar.
So the Germans waiting till now to see where the "future" leads is probably smart. I'm guessing that stealth will take a back seat to speed, height (we're probably headed toward a suborbital, or close, type flight profile for bombers and recon planes) and electronic warfare/cyber warfare to change aerial warfare as we know it. On the ground I see armored fighting vehicles with three crewmen, autoloaders, advanced trophy anti-missile type systems, possibly even lasers replacing MBT's as we know them with a serious reduction in size and weight.
The most interesting part of this though is that the Germans/Europeans will be building an airplane to compete with the F-35 during its proposed production run. The F-35 won't be the only game in town. It will have competition from friends, frenemies (Russia) and enemies (China).