Aircraft of the Future: Development and Combat Employment


Col. A.S. BONIN (Ret.), Doctor of Technical Sciences

Col. A.Ye. CHUNIKHIN, Candidate of Military Sciences

Abstract. On the basis of their analysis of contemporary approaches to the development and combat employment of advanced aircraft complexes, the authors bring out inconsistencies in the conceptual, technical and practical aspects of the approaches adopted and widely used previously by many aircraft developers, and offer their recommendations on improvements to be made in aircraft.

Keywords: aircraft, next-generation aircraft, multipurpose aircraft, multifunctional aircraft, light combat plane, light attack plane, modernization modification, combat employment.

The role of the Air Force in maintaining this country's military security is certainly high today, and will continue to be so in the future. The question posed from this viewpoint is how the Air Force is going to develop in the long term (over 15 years and beyond).

In the next few years, with 2015 at the latest, the Air Force's aircraft systems will still have the existing fourth-generation aircraft in service, modernized aircraft of generations 4+ and 4++, and fifth-generation airplanes as well. Toward the end of this five-year period, the proportion of dated aircraft in the total Air Force strength will be around 65%, another 15% or so will be aircraft modernized or scheduled for modernization, and the remaining 20% are, also approximately, to be entirely new aircraft.

The principal guidelines for fourth-generation aircraft modernization include expanding their combat capabilities for around-the-clock and all-weather operation; increasing their tactical range; expanding the list of weapons they use; lengthening their service life; and enabling an aircraft to perform several different functions on a single sortie, that is, turning it into a multipurpose flying machine.

The changes that have occurred in the years after the U.S.S.R. disintegration have, to an extent, affected the construction, combat employment, and structural reforms in the Armed Forces in general and in the Air Force in particular.

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