The most advanced tactical aircraft in the world today are called “fifth-generation” fighters, although few people seem to know in any detail what that phrase means. Among other things it signifies advanced stealth, fused sensors, networked operations, and optimized performance monitored by sophisticated software. But most importantly, it means that all the on-board technologies are integrated to achieve maximum survivability, lethality and reliability. As a result, a typical F-35 fighter performs six times better than a legacy fighter in air-to-air combat, five times better in air-to-ground attacks, and four times better in evading enemy air defenses. The leap in capabilities is so great that fifth-generation planes are as transformational for tactical air operations today as jet engines were in the 1950s. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
Find Archived Articles: