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US Air Force investing $28 billion to develop next-gen fighter jets and unmanned drones

The next step in cutting edge technology.
  • The sixth generation fighter jet will be replacing F-22 Raptor
  • The unmanned drones will help the fighter jet in combat
  • Drones set to be operational as early as 2028

Published on Mar 20, 2024 at 12:24PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Mar 20, 2024 at 7:10PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Tom Wood

The US Air Force reportedly plans to invest $28 billion over five years to develop a next-generation fighter jet.

Despite having F-22 Raptors in their current arsenal, the US Air Force plans on replacing the aircraft.

The recently released budget suggests that the plans will include a next-generation fighter jet and an uncrewed autonomous escort aircraft.

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That uncrewed, semi-autonomous escort is called the Collaborative Combat Aircraft, or CCA for short.

The CCA drone will escort the next-generation fighter jet, which will replace the current F-22 Raptor.

According to the report, they will also perform sensing, jamming, communications relay, and targeting functions. 

The plan is to keep the sixth-generation fighter jet at the center of the formation surrounded by the CCA drones.

The CCA drones will also carry additional munitions that can be aimed by the one pilot in the formation or attack targets on their own using AI.

Both the fighter jet and the CCA drones will also share a network to communicate with each other.

The drones will help the pilot in combat and aim to overwhelm any enemy aircraft.

Other countries such as China are believed to have also started developing their own next-generation fighter jets.

They are thought to be working on a new plasma technology that will make their aircraft practically invisible, too.

At the minute, the US Air Force mainly relies on the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II for its aerial arsenal.

However, new stealth technologies will make these fifth-generation aircraft obsolete, when faced with advanced fighter jets.

So, it is definitely about time for the US Air Force to start developing some sixth-generation jets.

Although the CCA drones are set to be operational as early as 2028, there’s no word on when we will see the sixth-generation jets enter the service.

Some of the images used for this article were generated using AI.

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