Fighter aircraft are a vital piece of equipment in any countries arsenal. Basically they come in two categories, the Fighter that is used for mainly defensive purposes in intercepting bombers bent on destruction. The other is the fighter bomber, which although can be used as a regular fighter, is adapted to be able to deliver bombs on an opposing force.
Often these aircraft are modified, upgraded or simply replaced by a country in order to keep ahead of or at least up to, potential enemies capabilities. With this continuous upgrading, we are now said to be on the fifth generation of fighter aircraft.
Here is a list of probably the best fifth generation Fighter Aircraft projects currently underway:
01: Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA)
Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) – This aircraft that is being developed for both fighter/fighter bomber roles is a single seat, twin engine aircraft with stealth capabilities. It is hoped that the AMCA will be ready for active service in India in 2020.
KF-X – With its first flight scheduled for 2017, it is hoped that this aircraft will be in service with both ROK and the Indonesian Air Force by 2020. Costing an estimated US$12 billion, it too is a single seat, twin engine aircraft with stealth capabilities.
03: ATD-X Shinshin
ATD-X Shinshin – Although the first flight for this aircraft is due in 2014, it is not expected to be ready for active service with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force until 2020.
04: Mikoyan LMFS
Mikoyan LMFS – Also scheduled to be in service in 2020, this time with the Russian Air Force, this aircraft is a single engine stealth and replaces the previously planned Mig 1.44 project.
05: J-XX(J-12, J13,J14)
J-XX(J-12, J13,J14) – Also due to make its appearance in 2020, this time with the Chinese Air Force, this little known about aircraft, is believed to be another single engine aircraft with stealth capabilities.
06: Sukhoi/HAL FGFA
Sukhoi/HAL FGFA – This is a twin seat, twin engine stealth fighter and with the assistance of Russia, should be ready for use in the Indian Air Force in 2020.
07: F-35 Lightning 11
F-35 Lightning 11 – This single seat, single engine, stealth fighter will be capable of a dual role. It is being developed by several NATO countries and saw its first flight in 2006. It is estimated that at a cost of US$40 billion, this aircraft should be ready for service in 2016.
08: Black Beagle J-20
Black Beagle J-20 – This dual role, twin engine fighter has stealth capabilities and saw its first flight in 2011. It is scheduled to start its service with the Chinese Air Force somewhere between 2015 and 2019.
09: PAK FA
PAK FA – At a cost of an estimated US$8 – 10 billion, this single seat, twin engine, dual role aircraft saw its first flight in 2010 and is due to be in service by 2015.
10: F22 Raptor
F22 Raptor – This is a single seat, twin engine stealth aircraft that first flew in 1990. It has already been introduced to the US Air Force and has been in active service since 2005 at a cost of US$65 billion.