Engineers and other experts at Raytheon Technologies' intelligence and space business have outlined several technology capabilities they predict will be integrated into “sixth-generation“ fighter jets that the U.S. Air Force plans to field by 2030.
Raytheon Intelligence & Space technologists predict future fighters will have multifunction hardware equipped with adaptable software, the company said Monday.
“You no longer have a radar, no longer have electronic warfare, no longer have a radio,“ said Jason “Tex“ Clark, director for advanced mission systems at RI&S. “Instead, you have multifunction hardware that does it all and can be repurposed very quickly ““ switching between functions so quickly it seems instantaneous.“
Future fighters will have high-performance computing capabilities that will transform these aircraft into “flying data centers.“
“Next-generation multifunction systems will produce orders of magnitude more data than previous systems,“ said Tomek Rys, business development director for communications and airspace management systems at RI&S. “On-board compute clusters composed of high-performance, ruggedized processors will effectively put a data center in the sky. These systems will leverage artificial intelligence to turn data into information in real time. The result will be faster decision making.“
Raytheon experts predict six-gen fighters to perform autonomous landing, operate with swappable sensors and fly with AI-enabled planes. They also expect the future fighter jet program to advance the use of digital engineering to better predict costs.