Last September, USAF's top acquisition official, Will Roper, told Defense News: “We’ve already built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator in the real world, and we broke records in doing it. We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before.”
The new plane, which is intended to replace the F-22, is part of the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) programme.
Little is known about the jet, but the Air Force has just dropped a massive clue: concept art of a fighter jet being built under the NGAD programme. The image appears in USAF’s recently released biennial report for acquisition. Read the full report here.
“Designed to complement the F-35, F-22, joint, and partner forces in the Air Superiority role, Next Generation Air Dominance is an advanced aircraft program for development of penetrating counter air platforms with multi-domain awareness, agile resilient communications, and an integrated family of capabilities.
“The program uses a non-traditional acquisition approach to avoid traditional monolithic program schedules and exorbitant life-cycle sustainment costs. This strategy, called the Digital Century Series approach, creates a realistic business case for industry to adopt commercial best practises for key design activities – before a part is even manufactured.”
USAF developed the secret fighter jet with digital engineering technology designed to dramatically shorten the time to develop a new aircraft.