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Boeing’s Sixth-Gen Fighter

by John Reed on September 20, 2011

Here’s a little update on this fighter design we showed you yesterday. It is indeed Boeing’s concept for a sixth-gen “air dominance” fighter for the U.S. Navy and Air Force, Daryl Davis, chief of Boeing’s Phantom Works division told me today. The plane, which is still just a concept, would have long-ranger range and fly at “higher mach numbers” (faster) than jets like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and be able to supercruise, according to Davis.

Boeing is funding its own research into sixh-gen fighter concepts since neither the Air Force or Navy is moving to kick off a new fighter program in the near future, said Davis. Pumping it’s own cash into advanced fighter R&D means that Boeing will have existing tech ready for a new airplane design when “the balloon goes up,” added Davis.

This is going to be pretty important in the years to come since, as Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told reporters today that the Air Force is going to focus even more on buying proven, existing technologies that meet the service’s actual combat requirements not its “wants.”

Meanwhile, the Phantom Ray UAV is Going Into Storage:

Speaking of new planes built with existing technology, Davis also revealed that Boeing’s stealthy-looking Phantom Ray drone will be placed in storage now that it’s successfully completed its test flights. The company is going to keep the bird in flyable condition with the hopes of dusting it off to contribute to the optionally-manned portion of the Air Force’s long range bomber project — a program Schwartz today said is in development and that the air service will fight to protect it from cancellation during the coming budget cuts.

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