U.S. military budget to start funding post-F-35 'X-plane:' Pentagon

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Wednesday its fiscal 2016 budget proposal will fund early technology development and prototyping of a "next-generation X-plane" that would eventually succeed the F-35 fighter jet being developed and built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's chief arms buyer, said the funding would be part of a new "aerospace innovation initiative" aimed at ensuring that the U.S. military continued to dominate the skies despite development of so-called fifth-generation stealth fighters by China and others.

He told the House Armed Services Committee the initiative would be headed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with help from the Air Force and the Navy.

Speaking with reporters during a break in the hearing, Kendall declined to give details on the amount of funding involved in the new initiative since the Pentagon's budget will not be delivered to Congress until Monday.

Lockheed, Boeing Co and Northrop Grumman Corp have urged the department to start funding a new major aircraft development program given the dearth of new programs in recent years.

Kendall said the new project was meant to ensure continued work for industry design teams as development of the F-35 neared an end.

He told reporters the project would also include work on development of a next-generation propulsion system, which has already been funded under a separate program.

Kendall said it was not yet clear if the new aircraft would be manned or unmanned. He said there have been promising developments in hypersonic technology, but it would not be practical to build an aircraft as large as a fighter using that technology.
Yes folks you read it correctly. They are planning to begin work on the F-35's REPLACEMENT before the aircraft even goes into service with the US Air Force. I think most of us can guess what happened and why they really are doing this. Money! They simply sold too much of the F-35's technology to other nations and are now feeling like they need to once again start work on a new plane so they can remain the dominant force in the air instead of potentially competing against their own aircraft on even ground.
 
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They are not exactly starting to work on a new plane, they are starting to work on technology that could one day be part of the next plane. Nothing surprising about this, these types of projects are going on all the time... future R&D is ongoing no matter what programs are being currently built. Basically it's just throwing money at these big defence contractors (Raytheon, Locheed Martin, Boeing etc) so they can spend it on futuristic R&D where the companies would generally spend a bit less since the potential financial impact won't be seen for years to come.
 
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Am not entirely surprised by this development.The US is constantly setting the standards in scaling new heights as far as innovation is concerned.They have to stay a step ahead of their competitors and pioneer the most advanced gadgets in the market.
 

003

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What would this one have? Is it necessary? Not because US is rich and is capable of building such equipment, they should really do so. Of course they have to do it for some purpose, and that's the question. Why do they have to do it. They must be planning something.
 
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Interesting strategy used by the US. They've managed to make some money out of the F-35 and now they are building a brand new fighter jet that would rule them all, but this is just a rumour so I wouldn't fall for it.
 
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