The F-35 jet is set to come to an end of service in the year 2070. The US Air Force has been working on a replacement for some time now, many years actually. The sixth generation strike aircraft also known as the penetrating counter air, or PCA plat form is currently being studied. There will be a published report on the unit in December of 2017. The capabilities of the PCA will be a hybrid approach towards having air superiority.
The most significant role will be having the ability to provide data from its sensors to launch kinetic and non-kinetic weapons. This plan will enable employment using either stand-off or stand-in weapons.
In other words, the PCA very well could be a drone whose main job is to find targets for other systems to attack or be a highly stealthy manned fighter jet. We don’t know yet if these jets will be manned or unmanned yet. The goal is to maximize trade-offs between, lethality, affordability, survivability, payload, and range. The fifth generation aircraft program is the most expensive weapons system ever developed by the defense department.
The price of the F-35 alone caused President Trump to ask Boeing to “price out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet” due to the monstrous expense of the Lockheed Martin F-35. In the meantime, there are programs that within a few years will allow us to significantly boost our airpower rule while creating tens of thousands of jobs.