Looking Towards the Next Generation

The Air Force last week began its search for the replacement to the F-22. This platform, which USAF officials have provisionally dubbed the Next Generation Tactical Aircraft, is eyed for initial operations around 2030. In a notice to industry, Aeronautical Systems Center officials at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, have asked for input on material concepts and technology for this platform. Responses are due by Dec. 17. The Next Gen Tacair aircraft’s primary mission will be offensive and defensive counterair, including integrated air and missile defense, close air support, and air interdiction, states the Nov. 3 solicitation. The platform may also fulfill airborne electronic attack and intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance functions, it notes. “It must be able to operate in the anti-access/area-denial environment that will exist in the 2030-2050 timeframe,” reads the document. ASC will use the feedback to support Air Combat Command as it refines the aircraft’s requirements. (For more, read The Sixth Generation Fighter from the Air Force Magazine archives.)