The US Air Force (Air Force) wants a generation 4.5 fighter that would replace the fourth generation F-16 Fighting Falcon and would be capable of “hitting” Russia and China, writes Popular Mechanics.
The American magazine reports that the question of the feasibility of creating such a fighter should be resolved by 2023. Popular Mechanics notes that the reason for such a discussion at the Pentagon was the high cost of the program of the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter, which was originally supposed to replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The publication notes that given the “growth of the Chinese Armed Forces and the rebirth of Russia,” the new aircraft should be able to cover long distances. “An Air Force fighter based in Italy may have to fly over 1,000 miles to hit targets in European Russia,” the magazine writes.
According to Popular Mechanics, a generation 4.5 fighter can be understood as an aircraft that has all the capabilities of a fifth generation fighter, except for stealth.
In August 2020, analysts Ryan Bauer and Peter Wilson, in an article for the American research organization RAND, declared the Su-57 a fourth-generation fighter that faced “numerous problems and setbacks.”