Military Review

Fifth generation fighter manufacturers: countries capable of joining the top three


In the race that has been going on for more than one decade for the possession of the most modern combat aircraft belonging to the so-called fifth generation, the three clear leaders are unambiguous. These are the USA, Russia and China. However, the list of states that are firmly determined not to purchase such a valuable technological novelty on the side, but to develop, at a minimum, combat vehicles comparable in terms of characteristics on their own with the “Big Three”, is certainly not exhausted. So, who else are we next?

In order to be considered a fifth-generation aircraft, a fighter must possess a number of mandatory parameters: maximum stealth, super maneuverability, high speed characteristics, multifunctionality, and the most advanced control system. And also some others. Perhaps it is precisely the highest innovative requirements for such aircraft that explain the fact that most of their developments today are conducted in the countries of Southeast Asia.

The prototype Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin, developed by the Technical Design Institute (TRDI) of the Ministry of Defense of Japan, and built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has already taken off and is quite successful. The military department of the country of the rising sun assures that with the stealth technologies, and with other parameters, their offspring are more than at the level. However, there is a problem - the engines with a controlled thrust vector proposed for installation on this machine from the Japanese company IHI XF5-1 are still only at the development stage. Perhaps the first samples of the new fighter will be equipped with installations of American or European production, and then they will already “finish” their product. Be that as it may, Japan aspiring to possess the “fifth generation” is still purchasing the F-35 from the USA, which indicates that the X-2 is still far from the full-scale “series”.

The next on the list, it is expected, is South Korea - there is already 10 years work is underway on a program to create a multi-role fighter KAI KF-X (Korea Aerospace Industries KF-X). True, its developers cannot decide in any way whether it will be a 4 ++ generation machine or a fifth. The project is being implemented, which is typical, together with Indonesia, and, to a greater extent, most likely, and is designed for countries of its level. South Korea itself, recall, is a member of the F-35 program and an active buyer of this aircraft.

The situation with India remains rather incomprehensible. They also want to have their fifth generation fighter there. They just can’t decide in any way whether to develop the FGFA program together with Russia, or to throw all their efforts into the program of creating a “purely Indian” promising AMCA fighter. It is very possible that they will stop just on the second option, but if we take into account the not very successful previous experiments on the creation of combat aircraft, in this case it is hardly worth waiting for special successes, especially, in the short term.

Europe periodically also announces its intentions to create the latest fighter. In any case, at the 53rd Paris Aviation and Space Salon (Paris Air Show 2019), the Next Generation Fighter (NGF) - the “fifth generation fighter” - was presented. So far, there is more talk of a project causing a negative in the US (which market for the F-35!) Is more than a real deal, but quite serious companies - Dassault Aviation and Airbus took up the development, so it’s quite possible that there will be a crisis and coronavirus will not interfere, leaving the project without sufficient funding. As far as we know, the Swedes, who seek, as far as possible, to participate in any European defense project, are not involved in NGF, since they themselves are working on the SAAB Flygsystem 2020 - also a fifth-generation fighter.

There are a couple of applicants in the Middle East region. For example, Ankara, which has had serious problems updating the Air Force fleet. Americans excluded Turks from the F-35 program; Europeans have little hope. It remains either to buy Russian fighters, causing even greater indignation of Washington and Brussels, or to do something of their own. For the first time, intentions to create a fifth-generation Turkish Fighter fighter for the centennial of the Republic of Turkey were announced at the IDEF-2013 International Defense Exhibition in Istanbul. There are no data on specific results yet. It is unlikely that one should expect in the near future - especially when you consider that this will be the first fighter of local development. For example, the country has no experience in creating jet engines. Like the corresponding industry for their production. The development cost is tentatively estimated at $ 10 billion.

Tehran also speaks of a firm intention to acquire a fifth-generation fighter of domestic production. It's about the IAIO Qaher-313 project. There are even more doubts about realism than with respect to Turkey, and for the same reasons. Although, in recent years, the Iranians began to surprise with their own military developments.

One way or another, but for now the "troika of leaders" remains the trio, moreover, Russia has yet to adopt the Su-57.
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  1. Varyag_0711
    Varyag_0711 25 March 2020 16: 45
    One way or another, but for now the "troika of leaders" remains the trio, moreover, Russia has yet to adopt the Su-57.
    I believe that in the next 10 years, the top three will remain the top three. And then, the big question is, is it a triple? To what extent can the Chinese samples be considered fifth-generation aircraft, if we discard the words (often empty) of Chinese "experts"? I'm not really sure that the Chinese, in addition to external copying, have created something outstanding. They do not yet have that flight school that could independently create something. Copy this yes, here they are ahead of the rest of the world, but with their own they have problems. So I would not include China here yet.
    Well, to carry out work on the fifth generation program does not mean to bring it to mind. To do this, at a minimum, you need your own Aircraft Engineering SCHOOL. Indeed, a modern aircraft is not only a glider, it is a complex avionics, AFAR, and complexes of interaction with AWACS and ground defense, and electronic warfare systems and weapons, and much more. So to get hold of a glider, which is similar to the fifth generation, it is still not to get hold of a plane, and to be precise, it’s not even a plane, but a fifth generation COMPLEX.
    So for the time being the leaders will be the United States, and we, too, are catching up. If our designers do not immediately give the sixth generation to the mountain, as some threaten.
    1. codetalker
      codetalker 25 March 2020 16: 54
      And the way they all successfully copy is also a significant exaggeration.
    2. Mastrer
      Mastrer 26 March 2020 03: 16
      Underestimating the enemy is fraught ...
  2. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 25 March 2020 16: 53
    I always liked Japanese development. Purely visual. As they say, a beautiful plane and flies beautifully. The samurai has a beautiful apparatus. I think they will bring him to mind.
    1. Threaded screw
      Threaded screw 26 March 2020 11: 02
      I think they will bring him to mind.
      It depends a lot on the USA, they famously insert sticks into the wheels, in principle, if it weren’t for the whales, the little people with narrow eyes would have already washed down something close to the series, the Mitsuba does things comparable in technology with a 5th generation airplane. I remember what sort of showdown was at 18 about this. Here, by the way, many were sure that nothing would fly at the Japs.
    2. Igor Polovodov
      Igor Polovodov 28 March 2020 19: 51
      An ugly plane will most likely not fly ... the words belong to Tupolev, if I'm not mistaken
  3. knn54
    knn54 25 March 2020 16: 55
    Taiwan plans to create its fifth generation aircraft by 2028.
    At least in the late 80s he was able (unlike some "willing" from this publication) was able to produce his own 4th generation fighter, the F-CK-1.
  4. The comment was deleted.
    1. Vladimir_2U
      Vladimir_2U 26 March 2020 07: 05
      Quote: Sun Chaser
      But without network infrastructure, this is not the 5th generation.

      Precisely, in the 21st century and without Wi-Fi, some kind of nonsense. laughing
      1. dauria
        dauria 26 March 2020 12: 59
        Precisely, in the 21st century and without Wi-Fi, some kind of nonsense.

        Damn marketers. "5-6-7, super, over." Tu-22m from the prototype to the latest "modifications" - the sky and the ground. Engines, electronic equipment, weapons and equipment, airframe elements were changed. The same will happen with the F-35 and with the Su-57, if you guess correctly the glider, the idea and catch "where the wind blows" in wars.
        One thing became clear - there is nothing to catch without a small RCS less than 1 square meter. Otherwise, they would fly on the F-15 and Su-27 and would not invent anything except new engines, "Wi-Fays" and missiles. But "where the wind is blowing" no one knows yet. Serious mixing was not for a long time. And thank God.
  5. bar
    bar 25 March 2020 17: 56
    In order to be considered a fifth-generation machine, a fighter must possess a number of mandatory parameters: ... super maneuverability, high speed characteristics

    On these indicators, "penguin" is crossed out?
  6. lucul
    lucul 25 March 2020 18: 11
    Now "partners" will run up to prove that super-maneuverability is not needed))))
  7. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 25 March 2020 18: 58
    So far, the manufacturer of serial 5th generation fighters is the United States. China and the Russian Federation on the transition from pilot production to serial .... and not with the final configuration.
  8. Maks1995
    Maks1995 25 March 2020 20: 03
    Everything rests on the engines and the need. IMHO, Japan and Europe will do something similar.
    Without super-maneuverability, at high speeds it’s one ... but at low speeds the plane will not save ...
  9. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I 26 March 2020 04: 21
    And what ? Hiba Velika Ukraine was looking for the 5th generation vinishuvuvach? belay
  10. boriz
    boriz 27 March 2020 22: 00
    So far, there are only two fifth-generation aircraft. F22 b Su57. And then, Su has not yet been accepted. The rest is learning how to make engines. And F35 no engine will help.
  11. jura-19
    jura-19 30 March 2020 09: 58
    Under Putinism, not of which generation 5 there will be only 4/5 remnants