Perhaps hesitant of the boondoggle that is the $1-trillion-plus F-35 Lightning II program, though, this sixth-generation fighter won't be some bleeding-edge piece of technology that takes multiple decades to enter service. In fact, Flight Global reports the next aircraft could well be based on a heavily modified version of the F-22 or F-35, citing comments from Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements Lt. Gen James Holmes made to the Senate Armed Services subcommittee during a hearing on F-22 production.You want to know where the real action is inside the DoD, HQMC, and the other services? Its not about women in combat, the F-35 or whatever your favorite military issue is.
"Because we want to do it faster and don't want to do another 20-year development program for a whole host of reasons, we'll try and go with technology that are at a high readiness level now with manufacturing capabilities that are at a high readiness level now," Holmes said. "We're trying to move to a world where we go forward with new airplanes that take advantage of technology that's ready to manufacture and we have the manufacturing skills to do it, and what could we produce in five years or 10 years instead of 30 years?"
From the sounds of it, the Air Force's new approach makes it seem like the sixth-gen fighter could almost be a spiritual successor to the F-16 – a relatively affordable, plentiful, multi-role fighter. We like the sound of that, even if it does mean the F-22 remains a rare commodity.
Its all about the upcoming procurement bow wave.
Around 2020, precisely the time the F-35 is do to hit full rate production, the DoD will have several major programs coming to fruition. The Ohio replacement is coming up, the B-21, the KC-46, the AMPV, I won't even express my frustration with the AAV Upgrade or the ACV and others.
There isn't any money for all of that. The DoD has been reduced to "hoping" for an improved funding future.
Hope is not a plan.
But don't count out those sneaky little bastards running around in Air Force blue! They have a plan and they're going to leverage every announcement (apparently) about the loss of airpower to gain more funding. So instead of looking at a 2040 date for the New Gen Air Dominance Fighter to come online, they're looking at 2030.
They're looking to keep replacement schedule for the F-35 as if it has been in service since 2010!
They're planning a generational money grab and the failed F-35 is the reason. Want more proof that the plane is trash? I can't think of a better example.