Even as the Pentagon is struggling to figure out a way to afford and field its fifth-generation fighter of choice, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Navy and the USAF—along with industry—are looking at what comes next. This sixth-generation fighter initiative is loosely known as the “F-X program” for the USAF and the “FA-XX” for the Navy.
The F-X program will look to finally replace the F-15 Eagle, as well as the F-22 Raptor, and the FA-XX program aims to replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. This new aircraft will be as much about reusable weaponry (lasers) as it is about expendable weaponry. Development of solid-state airborne laser capability is already well underway in the white world, and has most likely experienced other application gains in the black world.