Monday, July 9, 2007

Fifth generation

The current cutting edge of fighter design combines previous emphasis on versatility with new developments such as thrust vectoring, composite materials, supercruise, stealth technology, advanced radar and sensors, and integrated avionics designed to reduce the pilot's workload while vastly improving situational awareness.
Of these, only the American F-22 Raptor, put into production in 2004, is operational, and is often regarded as the first of a new generation of fighters, termed the "fifth-generation". The in-development F-35 Lightning II (formerly Joint Strike Fighter) and the F-22 has influenced the continued development of the fourth-generation designs, and the shape of design work for the Russian PAK FA and other countries' long-term fighter development projects (for instance, the rumoured Chinese Shenyang J-XX project, Indian Medium Combat Aircraft and South Korean KFX). There was some later cancelled technology demonstrators of fifth-generation fighter aircraft. Those include United States YF-23 Black Widow II, Boeing X-32 and McDonnell Douglas X-36 plus Soviet Union Project 1.42, later upgraded by Russia to version 1.44.

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