China is moving ahead to develop a sixth-generation stealth fighter after it finishes the fifth-generation J-20 and J-31, Igor Korotchenko, head of the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade, has told the Moscow-based Voice of Russia.
The United States is the first nation to forge plans for the design of a sixth-generation fighter. Several artist renditions have already been revealed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing. In an official statement, the US Navy claimed that a sixth-generation fighter — called FAXX — will replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growler by 2030. A source from the US military said that the Department of Defense has already prepared a budget for the development of FAXX in 2015.
Russia has recently gotten on board with its own next generation fighter program, said Andrei Grigoryev, the head of the Foundation for Advanced Military Research. The real "secondnd place," however, has to go to China in the race, said Korotchenko. A research team was established in northeastern China's Shenyang much earlier than Russia for the country's 6th-gen program.
China is the only nation capable of designing two types of fifth-generation fighters in such a short period of time. With experience gained from the development of the J-20 and J-31, China has enough resources to carry out its next-gen program. China's next fighter is likely to be an unmanned aerial vehicle, said Korotchenko.
While the definition of "sixth-generation" is not clear yet, most believe such an aircraft must be equipped with a laser or railgun.