Illustration of Lockheed Martin's new generation fighter in a video released on November 21. Photo: Lockheed Martin

In a promotional video, Lockheed Martin revealed more details of the 6th generation fighter, showing that the aircraft has a tailless design.

On November 21, US arms corporation Lockheed Martin posted a promotional video to celebrate the 80th anniversary of establishing the Skunk Works office, the company’s aircraft development department.

The video reviews Lockheed Martin’s military aircraft design and development journey over the past 80 years, including a rare illustration of the tailless design of the 6th-generation fighter line. This is a combat model. fighter that Lockheed Martin is developing in the US Air Force’s New Generation Sky Fighter (NGAD) program.

According to Drive‘s military expert Tyler Rogoway, the wing shape and overall design of the 6th generation fighter in the video are similar to images of Skunk Works’ previous NGAD program, including black drawings. A white paper that this office shared in July.

This expert commented that the fighter has a pointed tail, without a vertical tail, indicating that it appears to have an engine with an exhaust pipe similar to an F-22 fighter but with a lower serrated edge.

This is a popular design for stealth fighters, helping to reduce or hide the aircraft’s infrared radiation signals from sensor devices. This design also helps better disperse and cool the exhaust gas after it exits the exhaust pipe.

“It is currently unclear whether Lockheed Martin’s fighter, or the US NGAD program in general, has a vector propulsion engine, but there is a high possibility that it will be equipped with this feature,” this expert said. The vector propulsion engine helps increase the aircraft’s mobility by flexibly adjusting the exhaust flow in many directions, helping the aircraft quickly change direction during combat.

Two protrusions on the fighter’s inner fuselage can help increase internal volume without affecting stealth capabilities. “It’s also possible that this is a way to hide the true design of the plane without distorting the overall shape too much,” Rogoway said.

The most notable point is the cockpit glass. It is much larger than the images of the 6th generation fighter that Lockheed Martin has published, showing that this fighter seems to have two seats, not one as initially assumed.

Although automation integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) is the highlight of the 6th generation fighter, having an additional pilot in the cockpit will still make controlling the aircraft easier. , especially when the aircraft plays the role of directing the combat formation.

The downside is that this will reduce the fighter’s fuel and weapon load, as well as make the task of rescuing the pilot in case the plane is shot down more complicated because up to two people need to be rescued Instead of one.

The US Air Force will also have to train more pilots to fly new-generation fighters, creating an additional burden for the force’s human resources training program, which has recently encountered many difficulties.

Illustration of weapons in the NGAD program. Photo: Lockheed Martin

Illustration of weapons in the NGAD program. Photo: Lockheed Martin

Another notable point about the cockpit glass is its stretched shape on both sides instead of a bubble shape like traditional fighter jets. “This helps the fighter have a stealth design and the most aerodynamic design possible,” Roloway said.

NGAD is a US Air Force program to develop many weapons systems, including manned and unmanned aircraft, with a focus on a new generation of long-range stealth fighter codenamed “Piercing Air Defense Networks.” (PCA), intended to replace the 5th generation fighter F-22 Raptor from 2030.

The US Air Force said in March that the force aimed to produce 200 fighter jets and 1,000 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to support the NGAD program.