“The man in the dogfight of the future will be superfluous”

“The man in the dogfight of the future will be superfluous”

Mikhail Khodarenok

The Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, General Charles Brown, spoke about some of the features of the sixth generation fighter, created as part of the Next Generation Air Dominance Program (NGAD, New Generation Air Superiority). Read more about the promising American project in the material of Gazeta.Ru.
Very little is known about the sixth generation fighter. Northrop Grumman and the US Air Force have designed, built and already flown at least one prototype in complete secrecy.
From the disclosure of the first flight of the NGAD demonstrator in 2020 until now, Pentagon officials have remained silent on the details of this project.
According to official figures, the NGAD program includes the deployment of a whole family of related air warfare systems, which may include fighter jets, drones, satellites in space and platforms in cyberspace. In this regard, NG-AD is sometimes referred to as the “system of systems”. According to Charles Brown , NGAD is built with “unique flight control software”.
“It will be a completely autonomous system that will not have external software inputs, but at the same time it will be able to receive external information from other systems – from satellites, command centers, drones and other aircraft. Thus, this system will not be physically hackable,” the general noted.
This is an approach that Charles Brown believes the USAF has not used in any of its previous fighters. In addition, the general said that when designing the sixth generation fighter, “a very special hull coating” would be used, and the role of the pilot would “fundamentally change.”
“As a preliminary conclusion, we can state that NGAD is no longer an aircraft. The fighter here is only part of the overall system. The future of air warfare will be the sharing of advanced networks and interconnected families of various types of vehicles. Therefore, it is unlikely that the NGAD program will end with the appearance of a new fighter, as many imagine. This is not some isolated superfighter. By and large, the aircraft in the promising developments of the United States ceases to be a system-forming eleme-nt. Its role will be reduced to being part of super-large weapons systems, where the main role is given to detection, navigation, control, communications, weapons systems, ”writes the Defense News portal.
According to Foreign Affairs analysts, “the role of a human pilot in the NGAD system will be minimal.”
“Most of the management functions will be performed by artificial intelligence. This does not make NGAD an ordinary drone. Its tasks are much wider. This is a kind of decision-making center, but these decisions are no longer made by a person, but by artificial intelligence. The pilot only gives the computer the right to make a decision and launches the combat program. Man in the air combat of the future will be superfluous. The sixth-generation fighter will have many drones under its direct control. It is possible that even more than ten, ”the newspaper writes. To date, one of the few open white papers on the subject of NGAD is the Air Force Briefing Paper for the US Congress.2020 (Summary of the Air Force Background Report for the US Congress 2020). Among the large body of common language, the report states that the project is conducting research in five areas: new engines, network-centric technologies (that is, the constant exchange of information), artificial intelligence, cyber weapons and directed energy weapons. What all this means is not specified in the report.
The NGAD program remains top secret. At the same time, the cost of it has been constantly growing over the past few years. The Air Force wants $1.65 billion for the program in FY 2023, about $133 million more than what was requested in FY 2022.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Budget Major General James Pecchia attributed the increase in funding to the high cost of new communications equipment.

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