The Russian military is working on sixth and seventh generation fighter jets, to stay ahead of competition to secure the future of air warfare. The details are still unknown about type and capabilities except that planes would be both manned and unmanned.
Russia is already late in the arena of fith generation aircraft. It’s state-of-the-art Sukhoi T-50 fifth-generation fighter jet is undergoing trials and nearing entry into service with the Air Force. At the same time, the initial work on a sixth-generation warplane has also been started.
“Work on sixth- and, probably, seventh-generation [fighter jets] is going on. I can’t say too much [about it],” Air Force commander Colonel General Viktor Bondarev told journalists. He stressed that if the research and development phase stopped now, it would “stop forever.”
While vey limited is heard about the fifth-generation T-50 jet, there is even less information available about the sixth-generation fighter concept. General Bondarev said the 6G jet is designed in manned and unmanned versions, and “will become modernized in either variant.”
The unmanned option appears to be critical to ensure breakthrough air superiority capabilities and the ability to outclass the rival planes. The Air Force commander told that the human body “has its limits,” while an unmanned airplane’s avionics and hardware “are much more functional and can withstand any G-force.”
“Can you ever imagine what capabilities an unmanned fighter, bomber or attack jet could have?”
He did not specify a time frame for when a trial version of such a warplane could be rolled out, but said it is unlikely to happen within the next several years.
Prior to General Bondarev’s comments, Dmitry Rogozin, vice-prime minister in charge of the military industry, told media that the first draft outlines for a 6G fighter jet “were briefly presented” by the Sukhoi design bureau.