Navy looks to replace Super Hornet and F-35C
The U.S. Navy expects to undertake an analysis of alternatives (AoA) for its F/A-XX next-generation replacement for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet starting in fiscal year 2015.I think they need a long range attack fighter similar to the X-47B they can be a real stand off weapon for the fleet that allows attacks outside the range of China's carrier killer missiles. The unmanned aircraft would be the only real method for doing that,
The new aircraft and its associated “family of systems” would be expected to become operational around 2035.
The Navy does not yet know what kind of aircraft the F/A-XX will be, but the service is working on defining exactly what capabilities it will need when the Super Hornet fleet starts to exhaust their 9,000-hour airframe lives around 2035.
Though the Navy does not yet have a concrete vision for what the F/A-XX might ultimately turn out to be, there are certain attributes the service must have.
“You have to have something that carries missiles, you have to have something that has enough power and cooling for directed energy weapons and you have to have something that has a weapons system that can sense the smallest radar cross-section targets,” Manazir said. The F/A-XX family of systems might also incorporate the use of cyber warfare capabilities at a tactical level.
The Navy would develop the F/A-XX having fully understood the capabilities the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter and UCLASS bring to the carrier air wing.
“We’re looking to replace the F/A-18E/F with an understanding already of what the F-35C has brought to the air wing, what the UCLASS mission set is,” Manazir said.
The Navy is working very closely with the U.S. Air Force—which is working on its own F-X replacement for the Lockheed F-22 Raptor–on developing the F/A-XX.