Meet the F-36 Kingsnake, the possible 5th minus-generation replacement without the stealth. It will be a low-cost alternative to the more 5th generation F-35.
One of the reasons why it exists is that the U.S. Air Force will not fully adopt F-35s. The USAF does not want to commit to buying stealth fighters.
F-35 Kingsnake deadlier than the Viper
According to the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown, he said it's a hard pass to get all F-35s planned. Envisioned as the F-16 replacement that did not pan out, reported Fightersworld.
Getting really old is the F-16, despite a good, capable design that needs a newer replacement for the aging fleet. A new airframe that evokes the F-16 Viper or F-21 to be a competent plane with the price and all the tech of the F-35.
The plan to get a contract to design and build the Kingsnake surprised many defense experts. Especially after the F-35 was touted as the new plane to replace the F-16 slowly, thinking dictates that stealth is all-important, but some sectors want more heavily armed F-15 EX-Eagle.
The need for a 5th Generation-minus jet
Air Force Chief Brown suggested the concept to start brainstorming what the Kingsnake will be like. According to aviation publication 'Hush-Kit' that gathered a group to come up with the F-16 heir, the group's collaboration envisioned the Kingsnake, which is a lightweight fighter.
Involved in the project are Stephen Mcparlin and James Smith, whose input made the F-35 JSF and Eurofighter Typhoon possible. Andy Godfrey from the Teasel Studio did concept images of the F-36 Kingsnake.
Design cues were based on Gen. Brown's specifications, like a light airframe, cheap to build, and not full stealth. It will be a new 5th Gen-minus concept that is relatively new to the U.S. Air Force.
Many of the Air Force's 783 F-16C fighters are 28.7 years, almost 30 years old. The Kingsnake is needed sooner, and developing a plane for 20-years is unacceptable. The USAF has stuck itself with the successful design too long.
Designing the plane should take only a year with uncomplicated manufacturing methods to save costs. To get the building done fast, they need to use technologies like 3D printing to get them built faster. From the assembly lines, testing and use should be faster than before with less cost.
Off the shelf parts for assembly
The Kingsnake will be a first with using parts from other jets to use the Turbofan engine of an F-22 to reach Mach 2. Scan for targets and threats with AN/APG-83 advanced electronically scanned array radar (AESA). One way to keep the cost down is to keep new tech integration with the Kingsnake. Another is to stick to a faster design, built, ready to fly in less time than the F-35.
Kingsnake will be the new F-16 of this generation and better. Capable of dogfighting and attacking ground targets as its parent derivative. With added function of carrying weapons internally, the F-36 Kingsnake can carry more weapons on its wings. But, keep a cannon to shoot at close range planes and targets.
There will open architecture system for advanced systems later. Combines the F-22 and F-35 in a capable fighter.