Next Generation Air Dominance

The Pentagon is more than a year into an analysis of how it will maintain air dominance in the mid 21st century, said Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall. He told reporters on June 12 he put DARPA to work on the “air dominance initiative” in early 2013. DARPA is tasked with determining if future air dominance will be in the form of an aircraft, or “more likely a system-of-systems approach with an aircraft plus” electronic warfare, sensors, and so on, “and how they’re networked together,” he said. The ultimate solution “is certainly going to be building on” the capabilities of the F-35 strike fighter, which is designed to accommodate upgrades, he said. Kendall said he’s grateful that Capitol Hill have allowed the Pentagon to start to “do some follow-on development” for the F-35. “We need to start thinking now about the requirements for the next blocks of software,” said Kendall.