Fighter jets have always been a vital element in the history of war. They add a huge advantage over the enemy with their abilities to penetrate into enemy line attack where it hurts a lot. Over the years, there has been vast development in the air forces of the world and these changes are referred to ‘generation of fighter jets’. With each generation, there has been a subsequent change in speed, stealth and lethality of the aircraft of the world. We take a look at the next generation of fighter jet that will dominate the skies:
1. F-22 RAPTOR
Probably the most advanced of the serving jet in the world, this 5th generation fighter jet of the US is battle proven for its stealth and precision striking capabilities. Primarily designed for frontline attack,electronic warfare.
ORIGIN : United States
MAKER : LOCKHEED MARTIN
IN SERVICE FROM : 2005
TOP SPEED : 2.25 MACH
COMBAT RADIUS :760km
SPECIAL MENTION: The radar in the F-22 are probably the best in the world. They use AN/APG-77 radar, which can help it to maintain a vigilance of 240km approx. The aerodynamics of the jet also makes it high potent.The maneuverability of the aircraft is high and thus, can take in G’s and thus enhances its performance.
2. F-35 LIGHTNING-II
The twin-engine aircraft come right next to the F22 raptor because of its highly advanced capabilities. This jet was primarily designed to ground attack and air defence role.Since it has to perform ground attacks the aircraft comes with an advanced radar ability specifically designed to the task.
ORIGIN: United States
MAKER : LOCKHEED MARTIN
IN SERVICE FROM : 2007
TOP SPEED : 1.6 MACH
COMBAT RADIUS : 1158km
SPECIAL MENTION : This aircraft comes in different variants with each having a unique way of take-off and landing. F35C is specifically designed for aircraft carrier while F35B can land vertically and take off in a short runway!!
Commonly referred as PAK FA the T-50 is a prototype of the 5th generation aircraft that is being made by the Russians.The aircraft is designed to be a multirole one with high stealth capabilities, the first among Russian fighter jets.With all its testing done this aircraft is expected to take flight next year.
MAKER : SUKHOI
Expected to be service in: 2017
TOP SPEED: 2.3 MACH
SPECIAL MENTION : The aircraft is said have the equivalent capabilities of F22.The durability of the aircraft can act as a unique factor when compared to F22.The aircraft’s design is also such that it can recover quick stalling incase the thrust vector system fails, this is a limitation of the F22 that was addressed by the T-50!
If the US and the Russian are there in the league China shall follow and thus, the J-31.The multirole stealth fighter also known as F-60 has a smaller airframe than the J-20 but way ahead in the technology aspect
MAKER : SHENYANG CORPORATION
Expected to be in service : 2019
TOP SPEED: 1.8 MACH
COMBAT RADIUS: 1200km
SPECIAL MENTION: The aircraft uses stealth coating instead of baked in fiber mat which makes it invisible for the Ku-band and L-band radars and the airframe is such that there is extra hardpoint in the aircraft to carry an extra load.
5.MITSUBISHI X-2 SHINSHIN
The X-2 is the latest of the 5th generation fighter jets that recently made its maiden flight 5 days ago.The fighter jet is a homegrown stealth machine of japan.The jet is made with the concept of high manoeuvrability in mind.
TOP SPEED: 1.82 MACH
COMBAT RADIUS: 761km
SPECIAL MENTION: The airframe of the fighter is such that the tip is very sharp enabling it to bypass radar cross-section, due to the aircraft design it is capable of defeating Ku and C-band radars.Also, the self-repairing capability ie to detect defects in flight surface makes it unique from other fighter jets of the 5th gen.
The Indo-Russian 5th gen fighter jet is an evolution of the T-50 of the Russian.There are design difference and also around 43 changes proposed by the two teams to increase the performance and stealth of the aircraft.
Expected to be in service: 2018
TOP SPEED: 2.3 MACH
SPECIAL MENTION: With improved radars and networking system the aircraft is favoured over the T-50.Also,this is the only aircraft with a twin seater capability, such that one will be a WSO(weapon system operator) which means the aircraft is will be more supersonic and will require special care to fly around.Also the addition of ASTRA, BVR missile makes this aircraft very potent when in service.
7. TAI TFX
The product of Turkish Aerospace Industry the TFX twin-engine aircraft is yet another in the advance design mode.Once the design is fixed the manufacture of the aircraft shall begin.TFX will replace the existing F-16 of the Turkish airforce
MAKER: Turkish aerospace industries
EXPECTED TO BE IN SERVICE: 2025
SPECIAL MENTION: The aircraft will have a unique carbon fiber skin which shall make it light in weight and thus will enhance the speed and the maneuverability of the aircraft for air to air combat which the F-35 lack.
Advance multirole combat aircraft or AMCA is the 5th gen fighter jet that will be designed and developed in India.The aircraft is still in the design phase and being planned to replace the aging fleet of jaguar and mig-27.
EXPECTED TO BE IN SERVICE: 2017 (prototype testing).
TOP SPEED: 2.5 MACH
SPECIAL MENTION: The aircraft is basically designed to be a 5th gen ground attack aircraft thus has a high stealth ability and is to be fitted with radiation homing missile for precession striking ability.Also,the airframe is being made such that the aircraft can be super maneuverable thus, take on air to air challenge as well.
With Each of these aircraft trying to defeat each other the race to build the best machine is clearly visible.India will look at the 4.5 generation Rafale and HAL Tejas alongside the 5th generation FGFA & AMCA to help it be in the race and have a dominance in the SKY!