According to Gen. Goldfein, the Air Force is making progress on fielding an operational hypersonic weapon, a weapon that moves at five times the speed of sound, because of the “804 authorities,” an interim approach approved by the U.S. Congress which supports rapid prototyping and rapid fielding of technology within five years of approval.
“It’s going to go through design reviews in ‘20, testing in ‘21 and we’re supposed to reach IOC in ‘22,” he said about the hypersonic conventional strike weapon program.
In addition to hypersonic weapons, the Air Force Chief of Staff also commented on the subject of sixth-generation combat aircraft. Because it will be required to have high-level defensive and offensive capabilities, Gen Goldfein envisions a sixth-generation fighter that will be comprised of multiple platforms, or a “family of systems,” which will fulfill multiple mission requirements.
“I just tell you that I’m not locked into sixth-generation as being a single platform,” he said. “I think it actually limits our thinking if we go down that path.”