Northrop Grumman has just released an animation that shows how 6th Generation fighters might look like

Feb 05 2016 - 31 Comments

Northrop Grumman has just launched a new ad that teases next generation fighter jets.

One year ago, Northrop Grumman, at that time competing with Lockheed Martin and Boeing for the LRS-B ( Long Range Strike-Bomber) released an interesting ad that teased the shape of the next generation bomber.

Earlier today, the aerospace giant released a new ad that clearly shows, along with a B-2 and some X-47B UCAVs, three 6th Gen. fighters: the new tailless concept, already exposed by some renderings last year, features the “cranked kite” design that’s in vogue with Northrop Grumman, which built the U.S. Air Force iconic B-2 stealth bombers the X-47B naval killer-drone demonstrator and the still much secret RQ-180 unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance aircraft.

The so-called Next Generation Air Dominance concept points towards a small and much agile plane, rumored to be supersonic, long-range, cyber-resilient against threats of the future interconnected world, and able to carry laser-weapons.

  • Cynical175

    Scrap the JSF-35 “Brewster 2” right now and go full bore on this Northrop Grumman design. Nothing to loose with scrapping the F-35 and everything to gain with this design. Northrop has learned from Lockheed Martin what not to do after this Lockheed debacle.

    Definitely does not look like the fat flying pig that Lockheed designed.

    • Владолф Путлер

      Brewster II :)

    • Steve Johnson

      We have nothing to lose except:

      * a thirty year window in which our Navy is stuck with no aerial first-week strike ability against potential foes that are set to modernize in the next decade

      *tens of Billions of dollars in sunk costs.

      *Replacements for a very aged airfleet.

      And that is true if everything it’s detractors believe is true. most of what it’s detractors say is knowingly false.

  • MrSatyre

    As opposed to the unicorn that is the F-35?

    • sferrin

      There he is.

  • sferrin

    “despite the fact that stealth isn’t what it’s
    vaunted to be.”

    Really? Do you have any, you know, actual EVIDENCE, or are you just parroting what certain circles on the intertubes babble about? Because reality doesn’t seem to agree with you.

    • OR

      ‘Stealthy’ F-117 downed in Serbia in 1999 by old soviet era SA-3 is a fact, isn’t it?

      • franciwzm

        It was spotted by eyesight since it was making everyday same route.

        • OR

          sure it was) the second one that barely made it to the air base was spotted by eyesight too?.. and that ability to get spotted ‘eyesight’ was exactly the reason for decomissioning them quite rapidly)

          • franciwzm

            Since it was flying on exactly same route during days…Not difficult to undeerstand..or not?

    • Ed

      I’m kind of curious to the opposite as well. Is there any evidence that stealth is what it’s made out to be? I mean, sure, B-2’s were used with impunity and so on, but as far as I know that was more due to their altitude than their stealth.

      The only case I keep hearing about is the F-117 downing, for obvious reasons. But are there any stories (of actual combat situations) where stealth really made the difference?

      • Dr. Douglas Fargo

        All the Gulf wars, and recent wars. That should be enough of an example.

      • Uniform223

        Here is another thing to think about.

        Out of fleet of 60 (can’t remember the exact number) aircraft flying operational combat sorties combined over their service life. These aircraft going after HVT that few if any (at the time) other aircraft can go after; only ONE aircraft was ever lost to enemy action.

        That looks like a very good service record to me. Also there are numerous simulations and as close to real exercises with F-22s (which are stealthier than F-117s) showing that either you are stealthy or you are a target.

        >Hostage labels as “old think” those critics who point to the F-117 shoot-down and the presumed supremacy of high-powered electronic-magnetic warfare. “We have one F-117 shot down in 78 days of flying over that country, thousands of sorties. They shot down one airplane,” Hostage says. “And they shot down one airplane because we flew across the same spot on the ground for weeks at a time. It took them multiple weeks to figure out how to shoot the thing. Then they had to get four or five systems to do it. It took them weeks to take it out. I can accept that kind of attrition rate. I obviously don’t want to lose anyone, but good Lord, one airplane over the course of 78 days, that’s pretty impressive.”

  • Gyoz

    F35 and this concept or B2 have radically different stealth designs and approaches. I wonder if they expect to use a smarter wing surface design and vectorizes trust to make this plane so maneuverable.

    The limits of the F35 are mostly a consequence not of being stealth but for being designed for three very different requirements: Marines VTOL, Navy shipboard operation and Us Air Force.

    • franciwzm

      Vectorizes trust is not a good idea vs high energy planes such as eurocanards, as f22vs eurofghter exercices teach: you got ITR but you sacrifice CTR; in supersonic is totally not useful.

  • TxAg94

    Of course those are the only three that end up being produced before the program runs out of money and is canceled.

  • Marco

    Bulky… Fat… Big… Heavy… Low visibility from cockpit… It reminds me that F-29 Retal flight sim opening page concept plane (1990 video game)… That one was inspired by the ATF contest.

    • Dr. Douglas Fargo

      Is this reaction of yours because it is not a Russian made plane?

      • Marco

        I think you missed the part where that thing is NOT in development but just a kid’s painting with modern technology. It was just.. nothing political here. Nothing to see, move on.

  • LesSteel

    It can fly certainly.

    • Dr. Douglas Fargo

      It is a very capable plane indeed, everything, the expected bugs have been documented and everything is on track. All ready for the major 3F pack update for full service.

      But I can guarantee this to you, it will make the SU-35 cry, the PAKFA cry for its mommy.

      • LesSteel

        Just think how much better it would be if you developed it at Eureka?

  • franciwzm

    Delta wing design optimised for supersonic flight rather then subsonic

  • Dr. Douglas Fargo

    Annnndddd you got it right, the comment on top of yours is exactly what you just said it would happen. Hahaha!

  • franciwzm

    Look at that shape. Northrop’s 6th generation is obviously designed supersonic combat only: like typhoon and in part f22

  • McGiggle

    US tech has many problems, with F35 and even drones, 20 reapers dropped from sky last year. I dont think they are up for this.

    • Dr. Douglas Fargo

      Better than the Russians, they can’t even make good planes…

  • franciwzm

    that doesnt change substance,considering modern missiles: trust vectoring control is a bad idea nowdays: it could be useful just to shorten take off distance.In supersonic ( and both typhoon and f22 will engage just supersonic) trust vectoring is totally unuseful at best
    Many other encounters took place between typhoon and f22 after langley 2006, and substance did not change: trust vectoring is a bad idea.

    • Uniform223

      Again in a “classic” WVR dogfight, the ability to quickly point your nose and change the direction and heading of the aircraft is very important in BFM and in ACM. In a WVR engagement the aircraft that can get into position first and get the first shots off first generally wins. This means putting the defending aircraft into a proper weapons engagement envelope. Granted tactics have changed with missiles like the Archer, Sidewinder Xray, ASRAAM, and Python. Still all fighter pilots must learn and be proficient in the basics. Having a HOBS missile with an aircraft that can quickly maneuver in wide flight regimes is still good thing.

      Though those missiles have impressive HOBS capability, simply having a HOBS missile is still no absolute guarantee for successful outcome in a dogfight. These missile just don’t come screaming off the rails at a target 45degrees high at 3 o’clock and always hit their mark. Yes these missiles have a much wider engagement envelope over their predecessors (Mike iteration of the Sidewinder with all aspect), they are not full proof as they can be spoofed (with the right techniques).

      Thrust vectoring gives the aircraft the ability to maneuver better at lower speeds if the situation dictates it. Granted there are many caveats to ACM but thrust vectoring is just another tool in that tool box that the pilot can use. It is not the end all be all (I never expressed it to be) but it does give an advantage when used properly.

      Though one of the X-31s did crash, the program provided valuable insight into High AoA and post stall maneuvering.

      This is an interesting X plane… the X-36

      ** The F-22’s thrust vectoring nozzles are mostly used at lower speeds but former test pilot Paul Metz said…

      > “What is not widely known is that thrust-vectoring plays a big role in high speed, supersonic maneuvering. All aircraft experience a loss of control effectiveness at supersonic speeds. To generate the same maneuver supersonically as subsonically, the controls must be deflected further. This, in turn, results in a big increase in supersonic trim drag and a subsequent loss in acceleration and turn performance. The F-22 offsets this trim drag, not with the horizontal tails, which is the classic approach, but with the thrust vectoring. With a negligible change in forward thrust, the F-22 continues to have relatively low drag at supersonic maneuvering speed. . But drag is only part of the advantage gained from thrust vectoring. By using the thrust vector for pitch control during maneuvers the horizontal tails are free to be used to roll the airplane during the slow speed fight. This significantly increases roll performance and, in turn, point-and-shoot capability. This is one of the areas that really jumps out to us when we fly with the F-16 and F-15. The turn capability of the F-22 at high altitudes and high speeds is markedly superior to these older generation aircraft.”

      • franciwzm

        IRIS-T has 180 degrees capability and estrem high self defensive capabilities vs incoming missiles.: your post is long and out of topic ; furthermore is you get wvr in a modern fighter that means that something has gone wrong.
        F22 pilots said that using trust vectoring control vs eurofighter in simulate wvr encounter is last resort manouvre.
        Trust vectoring in supersonic bvr is totally useless.

  • Roland Lawrence

    It certainly looks great. Though as pointed out in other comments, making something that flies is more important to making it super stealthy. The f35 we know has a very small radar return when kept in its hanger for servicing….