Lockheed’s 6th Gen Fighter

Flight Global’s Steve Trimble pulled a coup the other day when he pulled Lockheed Martin’s 2012 holiday calendar out of his trashcan and discovered this ¬†beauty gracing the month of February.

Yup, she’s apparenlty Lockheed’s concept for a post 2030 F-22 replacement that would “provide the next quantum leap in capabilities for the next generation of fighters.”

This quantum leap will be so big that it “will be driven by game changing technological breakthroughs in the areas of propulsion, materials, power generation, sensors, and weapons that are yet to be fully imagined,” Lockheed tells Trimble. This tells me the jet that will someday replace the F-22 won’t be a replica of the plane shown above. That drawing is merely meant to show that the company is already working on 6th-gen¬†fighters. More on this tech tomorrow.

  • djwork

    nice pic of the YF-23, oopps…..

  • RCDC

    Does it have vertical takeoff, midair stationary and vertical landing capability?

  • Tim

    Looking mighty fine from this profile view! Being extraordinarily thin could even be hard to detect visually.

    Now, only if they could make it cheaper to produce than F-22/F-35 and less negative criticism.

  • crackedlenses

    Is that digital camo on the tail?…..

    • Praetorian

      Here is a link :


      I thought this quote was interesting : ” possible technologies for a next-generation fighter should include “greatly increased speed”, more range and new features like self-healing structures and multi-spectral stealth ”

      Self healing structures, huh

      • blight

        I assume meaning if the aircraft is hit by a missile that the skin and internal systems have a degree of redundancy allowing the aircraft to continue the mission.

        • Nick Dwyer

          Maybe like self sealing bladder cells- fuel interacts with a layer of gum like substance and expands, clotting the hole.


          • Dumb Grunt

            No, sounds more like Slime, think bike tires.

          • 4FingerOfBourbon

            They already have that! Ah La A-10

          • Nick Dwyer

            Yep, it used to be my specialty.

      • tiger

        Does it change into some Robotech/ Gundam thing?

    • Mike

      It is the same as on the rest of the jet. Change your goggles pinhead. It’s an artist rendition.

  • 4FingersOfBourbon

    Let the cloaking begin!!!

  • 4FingerOfBourbon

    Who wants to play lawn darts on the cost of this program? 5 Billion each? Anyone…Anyone????

    • Tad

      Whatever the entire annual budget of the Air Force will be in 2030 is what this sucker will cost.

    • Michael

      We’ll be able to afford 4 of them.

      • blight

        Four Planetary Siege Unit Bolos would be sufficient for world domination.

    • tiger

      It will cost your first born male child….

  • free falling

    But is this plane supposed to ever leave the lab, or is this just another pure, never-ending, highly profitable R&D project from (for) Lockheed ?

    • mike

      that’s not fair at all. how do you think innovations reach flight hardware? they need to be first developed and tested. without people thinking about what’s possible and trying it out, you’re going to end up out-paced by a world that doesn’t share your limited view.

  • TLAM Strike

    But will it be able to counter the emerging Cylon threat?

    • fromage

      God, this post has the best comments.

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      Cylons? Like a number 8? Where? [looks around hopefully].

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen

  • Nick

    F-23 + FireFox!

    I’m guessing we’ve already seen the last manned high performance fighter, it’s likely the stuff in the future will be smaller, cheaper and more expendable. If you can make them more cheaply than the missiles that are used to shoot them down…

  • Skyepapa

    Seems like at that point planes and missiles become much harder to differentiate anyway… aren’t they already developing a drone that blurs the line — like the recent post about the sub-launched drone with a warhead? And can’t some cruise missiles already loiter and redirect as needed?

    • blight

      You were thinking of Tactical Tomahawk, which can loiter. Little other information on the concept otherwise, though I’m not sure what the hypothetical loiter time of a cruise missile is, especially compared to a large-wing UAV optimized for loiter time.

  • 4FingerOfBourbon

    Really…..The future will be ISR and those mach 20+ non exploding missle thingys…for fromage!

  • Chops

    And I’m sure it will start at a price of 175 mil. per copy and wind up 400 mil. per plane if the people at LM build it, and it will be 10yrs. behind schedule also.

  • PolicyWonk

    Nice picture. It’ll certainly appeal to the “fighter mafia” because it appears to be manned.

  • Motive25

    It’ll be another over-priced, underperforming bug-ridden boondoggle built by the usual suspects in the military industrial complex. Besides, I thought the F-22 and F-35 were supposed to be the last manned fighters? Bring on the UCAVs!

  • jumper

    Hopefully they’re starting LRIP phases now…. if so it MIGHT be ready by the time the F-22 is ready for the boneyard.

  • Lance

    NOT going to happen the 5th gen fighters are on there death beds alone a project for a 6th. Why dose new planes have to be so ugly? I mean these and other 6th gen fighters look like crap. Glad there is no money for them. Why cant if we want star fighter looking planes make a X Wing ;).

  • Zach

    The cost of just printing that jet on paper was about 100 million. Obama has already pre-emptively cancelled this jet stating that our current jets now can do the job all the way through 2030, and to pad his retirement fund he sold these plans to china with all the technology.

  • Black Owl

    It looks more like a paper airplane I once made.

    • crackedlenses

      Don’t you have anything good to say about any fighter that’s NOT a Super Hornet ;)……

  • Musson

    Lockheed is designing a new stealth technology that makes the fighter invisible to Budget Cutters.

  • tiger

    Does Lockheed have any hot chicks on this calendar? Or Is Thing Miss June?

  • tiger

    “This quantum leap will be so big that it “will be driven by game changing technological breakthroughs in the areas of propulsion, materials, power generation, sensors, and weapons that are yet to be fully imagined,”

    Dilithum Crystals & Warp drive, Photon torpedos, Light saber holder???

    • Unibrowser

      Common now no mixing of movies!

    • blight

      Robotech Protomatter will do it. As would a city-sized Inspection Army gunboat crashing on a Pacific island…

  • Strange

    build the YF-23 for teh realz

  • cozine

    Vic Viper or Lord British? Let me see some force fields.

  • Infidel4LIFE

    I guess they think they are goin up against Darth Vader? How they [we] gonna pay for that?

  • Neil

    America is now at the stage where it cannot make fighter aircraft that actually work anymore (the F-22 and F-35 catastrophes) so don’t get your hopes up guys.

  • So Lockheed haven’t even finished imagining this aircraft yet? Wow! I’ve imagined all sorts of crazy stuff for this aircraft in just the last two minutes… warp drive, invisibility cloak, flies underwater, cyborg pilot with laser beam eyes, transforms into a monster truck. Either Lockheed aircraft designers are retarded, or this is gonna be one heluva plane.

    • Dfens

      If only Lockheed still had aircraft designers. They have some junior engineers who play on the CAD system. It’s not the same.

  • Gunner

    Does it have Phasers:-)

  • Uranium238

    Oooh. Pretty. It’s gonna be hard to make the next stealth jet look as beautiful as the F-22 Raptor.

    • FtD

      YF-23 looked much better

  • Chops

    Google X36 and tell me why that concept plane wasn’t built.

    • 4FingerOfBourbon

      Who says it wasnt? They made two, it is unmanned. Unmanned is the only true way to acheive super manueverbility…

      • Chops

        According to what I read on it the X36 passed and exceeded all test but they only made a couple of expiremental downsized aircraft–you would think w/Boeing having the planes now they would possibly be a great 6th gen fighter.

      • zman537

        yup. super manueverbility, so manueverable that they crash land in Iran.

  • seeker6079

    It says a lot that my first reaction to this was to sag back in my chair and say, “oh for F*CK’s sake!”.

    • seeker6079

      Cool. I just *’d the U in the naughty word, but the site did the other three letters today. Technology for a more polite tomorrow!

  • RCDC

    I bet the navy could do better and cheaper stealth jets if it produce on it’s own.

    • Mike

      It is quite clear you have no idea how weapon systems are acquired. None

  • Chance74

    Heck yeah. VF-25’s would be nice :)

  • JRL

    Pffft… That tired old LockMart thing is like a Sopwith Camel compared to Apple’s upcoming iFighter…

  • tribulationtime

    T-50?. Its funny they don´t fly the F-35 and they are thinking on the next. Thats remember my remark about “Business is R&D itself”

    • 4FingerOfBourbon

      Without R&D I wouldn’t have a job!

    • Riceball

      Thing, this is the aerospace industry works, once work is done developing one plane work begins on coming up with the next design. I bet you that you that as soon as the F-22 & F-35 were announced as the winners for their respective competitions the services were already beginning to draw up the plans for their replacements and so was Boeing and LM. With development time being what it is you have to begin planning for a plane’s replacement as soon as or even before it enters service, this way you have enough lead time for the replacement to (theoretically) start production when its predecessor is about ready to be retired.

      You really expect the next gen of fighters to be planned for, designed, and built right when the F-22, F-35, & Super Hornets are retiring? If we did that we would have a hollow shell of an air force in all branches and we’d see (if we’re lucky) at least a 10 year gap from when the last our current fighters is and when they’re replacements came on line if we started the planning and designing at or around the end of a plane’s service life.

  • William C.

    She’s purty…

    Maybe this time Congress won’t hold a “procurement holiday”, stretch out the EMD phase significantly, keep shifting around funding, and serve as a massive obstacle. Nah I shouldn’t joke like that.

  • danf

    The United States will never build another generation of fighter aircraft. It will never be approved by the Obama WH, if approved it will never be funded. Within a few years, the industrial capability will have evaporated. F-35 is it and that program will be ended after 600 or 700 aircraft.

    • tiger

      Yep, the swords into wind turbine guy may get another 4 years…..

      • blight

        Swords into more swords bankrupted the Soviets.

        For us, we outsourced everything but our swordmaking, so it’s not like the whole shebang lies at the feet of Pres 44. When convenient,people forget that TARP was started by Bush before he left; and when TARP works, the Dems take full credit and forget Bush Jr, and when it doesn’t, they forget the ball was rolling under Bush Jr and was rolled some more by Obama.

        Solyndra’s fault was they took a risk on a new mechanism of solar power delivery, it didn’t work out and the company folded. You’d think the government would go the extra mile to support businesses who build locally, but behavior by the CEOs was sadly normal: strip the company, walk away with the golden parachute. However, people are of the opinion that giving CEOs a freer hand to be jerks is the solution.

        • Dfens

          It bankrupt the Soviet Union back when we made swords more cost effectively than their government run politburos. Then we decided to pay our contractors more to drag out development and jack the cost of our weapons sky high. Now we’d be damn lucky if we could match the development and production costs of a Russian politburo.

  • robert fritts

    By 2030 maybe the USAF will have finally finished “looking over the horizon for the next threat” that kept them from being substantial players in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And we might also have 2 or 3 hundred F-35s in service by then.

  • David

    It has a pilot therefore it’s not at all forward thinking.

  • Ricky_Butler

    The USAF are going to let LM build them another fighter after the diasters that the F-22 and F-35 have become? Jesus, talk about brain dead. How much will this thing cost per unit, $400 million or some such absurd amount. Couple that with the fact it won’t work and will be grounded most of the time as the F-22 and F-35 are, and when its not grounded it’ll be severly restrcted in operations like the F-22 is. Disaster in the making. Boings no better either, you’ve only got to look at the awfully underperforming F-18E/F and tanker aircraft fiasco to see that.

    If i were you guys in the USAF i’d start by asking non American companies such as Dassault and Eurofighter to design and build your new jet, that way at least you’ll get one that actually works and is able to provide the aircoer you’ll need in the future. You might only get it just a few years late that way and not the decades late you WILL get with LM or any American company trying to build it.

    • William C.

      Just a few years late? The Typhoon’s first flight was in 1994. It technically entered service in 2003, but today it is still using an old mechanically scanned pulse-doppler radar and lacks many promised capabilities.

      The Rafale first flew in 1986 and entered service in 2000. It has a PESA radar which isn’t as good as a modern AESA design.

      If we showed the same level of commitment to the F-22 program that the Europeans showed to their designs, the F-22 would still be in production, further upgrades would be in development, that OBOGS issue would be sorted out, and the USAF would be much better off.

      The F-35 is still in development but most of its problems can be traced to JSF concept of meeting three service requirements plus being exported to allies. It’s grander in scale than McNamara’s F-111 was.

      • Ricky_Butler

        Come on man the F-35 is flawed beyond all belief. It’s a completely broken aircraft in every respect and yes that is as you say thanks to the fantasticly supid concept of a 3 in 1 jet. but also because LM simply cannot build fighter aircraft anymore, which leads nicely into the disaster that is the F-22. Again LM simply couldn’t build it as advertised. I can remeber the day when LM put out a press release saying we’ve made an F-22 with zero defects! Yes, they got one right so they actually announced it! All the rest were full of errors, infact 80 of the fleet aren’t even cleared for comabt because they were so broken when delivered thanks to shoddy engineering.
        Face it, America cannot build fighter jets anymore. And Europe, whilst slightly less ambitious can actually build and continue to fly their aircraft. For example the F-22 COULD NOT have gone to Libya even if they’d have needed it thanks to restrictions placed on it due to yet another faulty system. It is a hopeless pile of crap of an aircraft.

        • William C.

          How is it completely broken in every respect? It is still flying and moving through testing, none have crashed, and the constant shouts of people claiming the sky is falling haven’t killed it yet.

          The whole “three-in-one” concept is something that has occurred before and refuses to die. Why, because those who determine budget and policy don’t seem to understand that the military can’t make one fighter do everything. Yet the concept can work up till a certain extent. Consider the F-4 Phantom II.

          As for your claim that Lockheed can’t build, you base this on what exactly? You know Lockheed makes C-130Js and all sorts of other things right? Look at all of the new technologies the F-22 introduced. Some problems were inevitable. It’s true some downright unacceptable mistakes have occurred. But do you mean to tell me such things haven’t occurred with European fighter programs?

          You have a challenge set of requirements. Add some typical human incompetence as you do in every industry, bad workers or managers that create problems. Then, add in endless interference and changes from Washington and the DoD. This includes them screwing with the program’s budget and timelines constantly, micromanaging many aspects of the program, changing requirements and planned purchase numbers, and occasionally trying to kill the entire program. Finally, add in the downsizing of the industry occurring throughout the ’90s. This is a recipe for error. Yet despite these errors the F-22 has the potential to be the most capable air-superiority fighter in the world for decades to come.

          Those 80 earlier production F-22s work, but haven’t been upgraded to the same Block standard as later “combat-coded” F-22s. Much the same occurred with the your beloved Eurofighter. In fact, the RAF’s Tranche 1 Typhoons are to be retired because it was decided that it would be too difficult and costly to upgrade them.

  • msc

    With the 530 yahoos on Capitol Hill, their support staff of many thousands, the judicial barrel of clowns, and the effeminate neo-communist members of the executive branch being what they are I seriously doubt we will exist as a nation or superpower to even need what you have described: a fantasy concept picture of the impossible dream.

  • 27223532

    Somehow it seems that some of you guys missed something. “This tells me that the jet that will someday replace the F-22 won’t be a replica of the plane shown above. The drawing is merely meant to show………….”


  • Unibrowser

    I can tell you from first hand that the procurement system is the primary pusher in the cost. Until we stop flooding the design offices with bureaucrats, we’ll see more cost not less.

    • William C.

      How about less redundant government agencies going over the same stuff too? I forget what the anecdote was, but it was something about the CH-47 only having to deal with three agencies while the V-22 had to deal with twenty.

  • Tim

    Why do they think pilots will be used in 2030?

  • Chris J

    It is time to go pilot-less…stop making aircraft that requires a body. Sorry Officers, but it is time to stuff you in the back room with a joystick and a redbull. To many limitations in building a fighter that has a carbon-based unit in it!

  • “technology must go on and we need to remain ahead or current with the rest of the world”

    …and you don’t do that by skipping 5th generation aircraft. An F-35 is not just for Christmas, it’s an aircraft that will still be in the sky in 2050; you want to replace them with Hornets on the basis that a Hornet is good enough this week, while other countries continue their own 5th gen aircraft programmes. You have no idea what technology China has already developed/stolen, or who Russia will be selling AESA radars to in five years time – and an F-35 is more than a vehicle for an AESA radar anyway. A air-fleet of Hornets might look good today, but in 10, 20, 30 years time – not so great.

    • Brian Black

      This was posted as a reply to another comment posted earlier by Black Owl – which, in case you were wondering, is where the quote has come from; doesn’t seem to have stuck though.

    • William C.

      Exactly. People don’t seem to look at the long term picture. Or rather, somebody mentions the long term picture and they just say “UCAVs” like it is the answer to everything.

  • skeatesy

    well it looks like usa is finaly observing the 130 degree nose rule and cleaning up its act after the failed jsf and rapter abortions …i said thirty years ago they would be grounded violating the 130 degree nose rule while the europeans put a cannard on their raffele euro fighter and at least knew something about high stress modulus wings .. you cant get something for nothing … and now at least you may be able to observe that a self repairing aircraft is absolutely essentual if you can understand why …the luffing action transmitted forward from the wing tips to the fudeselage must accelerate faster forward than the total speed of the aircraft so it deliberately crackes the bulk head ahead of the c/g to remain undivergent and a self repairing mecahanism is exactly what the doctor ordered here so a shot up wing can keep on flying because the lift centroid is continualy being repaired so the fulcrum effect stabilizes the incidence at the rear of the craft to counter the pitch moment ..skeatesy .com

    • Mike

      Was that acid or mushrooms?

  • gt350

    I do not know of a computer that is better then a well trained pilot.

    • Mauler

      Not now (says a pilot), but by 2030 you better believe it.

  • godzillajet

    this fighter will be never built its just a design the f/a-xx will be built but not this.

  • Metoo

    No fool, UHA ultra high altitude with long range directed energy weapons. Too high to engage, too lethal at long range to get close to.

  • Papi1960R

    Looks very similar to the Mitsubishi Stealth Mockup on display in Tokyo in 2010. If Lock-Mart starts right now. They can have a prototype ready for 2036 when the finally get the F-35 bugs worked out. And since Obama will step down in 2032 after his sixth term, there may even be funding.