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…..

    • blight


      Maybe in the tail, but that’s about it.

      • 4FingerOfBourbon

        23 is what I was thinking…..forward and aft!

        • 4FingerOfBourbon

          Yeah, “Oh, BTW, 23 was better than 22….so it will be the 6th Gen!”

      • fromage

        Psh. DJ & 4Finger, you keep being awesome.

    • maddawg77

      Please do not let Lockheed Martin into the compition. It will only get mucked up look at the F-22 and now the F-35. The Only times Lockheed gets things right is when there Black and Bulit by a small group of people.
      R.I.P Kelly Johnson and Ben Rich. SKUNK WORKS

    • Ryan

      looks more like the BAE Replica to me

    • Tim

      Agreed. I wonder what Northrup Grumman’s concept looks like?

    • JKM

      Some say the Skunkworks is working on a 2nd generation cousin to the Blackbird (SR71). They’re supposedly calling it the SR72. Pilotless and capable of hypersonic speeds.

  • 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

    • 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????

  • 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 ?

  • TLAM Strike

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

  • 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…

    • Mastro

      I certainly can’t see using a $200 million manned plane to drop iron bombs.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Brian Black

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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”

  • 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.

          • blight

            My read of Dead Hand, which was about the whole Russian MIC with a focus on NBC was that the military built willy-nilly, even to the point of spending 2x per capita on weapons than the United States. They built crap they didn’t need, they had multiple projects to subsidize the design bureaus (think if the US procured both F-22 and F-23, and F-35 and F-32, and continued to produce Minuteman III, Midgetman, Peacekeeper, Trident II and Trident III.)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Brian Black

    “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

  • gt350

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

  • 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.