Certainly marketing departments use such terms but in fact such terms are really meaningless... essentially 5th gen just means designed from the ground up to be stealthy, but I am sure the French would claim the Rafale is a 5th gen in that regard... it is all so messy and therefore meaningless.
When talking about the F-22 supercruising was described as part of 5th gen design but when the F-35 turned into such a dog that requirement was removed by many... the concept of heavy and light fighters suggests supercruising really only is practically useful if you operate over a decent distance in air superiority mode which light fighter are unlikely to need to do.
Which raises the factor that if you leave it to the Americans to define then such a system would work for American types but not so well for foreign types.
Other factors are things like AESA radar, well MiG-31s have a PESA and the most important part of an AESA is the electronic scanning part... the ESA.... and I would suggest the MiG-31 can probably also supercruise too.
Once they have announced what they will regard as the next gen, this is often as much a mechanism for extracting more money from US politicians as it is a technical leap forward, then the RoW falls in and compares their products to it.
Well exactly... it is not a measure of progress or development, it is a criteria for cost... it costs 10 times more because it is stealthy from this direction at certain times of the day...
Whether the product is actually needed is seldom relevant in the US, it is all about creating the illusion of need to continue the MIC gravy train. Until they run out of money.
Exactly... features are important when their aircraft can do them, and are air show gimmicks when they can't... things like tail slides or operating from grass strips and ignored as circus tricks in the west, but in the Ukraine operating away from airfields is what keeps Ukrainian aircraft alive... till they take off or a drone spots them.
And that is the problem because the generation is used as a marketing tool so the F-15EX will be called a 5th gen lite aircraft... the features of a 5th gen fighter but for a 4th gen fighters price (except it will still be eye wateringly expensive when it actually comes time to pay the bill).
For the same reason you can understand all doubt that still surround the MiG-35 instead: despite all the improvement made it doesn't get such a relevant change in its own flight parameters compared to a MiG-29SM.
Put new generation RD engines of 10 tons thrust each or the proposed 12 ton thrust models for the 5th gen light fighter, and an AESA radar or even a photonic radar that covers the entire skin of the aircraft and renders the aircraft radar invisible without requiring a complete reshape because aerodynamically it is already an excellent shape and what gen do you call it?
I mean no matter what definition you make for each generation changes can be made to shift the generation, but are there any aircraft that actually shift?
There was talk of putting Al-31s in MiG-23s... well how about the new engines for the Su-57 being put into a MiG-23, with AESA radar and other computer based upgrades... does it remain stuck in the 3rd gen because it essentially is a swept wing fighter?
I completely disagree: F-15EX show no radical difference in its own flying pattern fro a F-15C, it cannot operate at high angle of attacks , so it cannot perform any kind of post-stall maneouver or even operate a SMI mission due to that, so it is still a baseline 4 gen plane on that regard, just with an AESA radar and new engines (without TVC).
I retain your suddivision of generation wrong.
MiG-17 is still a first generation plane as it was still transonic at best, MiG-19 and MiG-21 were part of the second, third begin with the F-4 because it was the first serial aircraft designed to use its own radar for autonomously search and engage enemy planes and to use medium range missiles.
It a shift in design goals what usually is considered to determine the succession of generations. So the first was defined just by an increase of performance due to swept wing , second generation was instead the breaking of the wall of sound so thatalll the century series was into it , no matter if some would limit themselves at 1.3 mack and others would became bisonic. Third was about radar and (medium range) missiles and in this sense it was an almost complete failure with most planes unable to reach their own stated role. Fourth was about the introduction of E-M theory in the West and the supermaneuverability in the East but in any case the overcoming of the limitations and the errors of the thirth one.
With the fifth generation the stealth is the key BUT thing became muddy because there is the contemporary presence of several models of new planes that add features that in itself would signal a departure from the fourth gen design but are still packed together with them because they are not full sthealth at all.