The US Air Force plans to sign a full-scale production contract for the sixth-generation fighter next year. The aircraft is being developed as part of the Next Generation Air Dominance project (NGAD) as a replacement for the world’s first fifth-generation fighter, the F-22 Raptor.
What is known
The US Air Force has officially opened the competition, which is likely to attract the largest aerospace companies in the country. In particular, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. The latter, by the way, is the manufacturer of the new generation nuclear bomber B-21 Raider, which was introduced in December last year.
On the eve of the US Air Force launched “Request for Proposals” (Request for Proposals) for the full-scale development phase of the sixth generation fighter. The aircraft will be able to work in tandem with unmanned aerial vehicles, which are being developed as part of a separate program (Collaborative Combat Aircraft). The manufacturer for it will be selected separately.
The press release of the service says that the NGAD platform is a “vital component of the family of air dominance systems.” The sixth generation fighter represents a technological leap over the F-22. The list of key attributes of the new aircraft includes increased strike capabilities, increased survivability, stability, and adaptation in the air in the face of fierce competition.
The US Air Force hopes to award the contract in 2024. The fighter will enter service in the 2030s. Previously, it was assumed that NGAD would be ready in 2035, as well as a new generation aircraft for the People’s Liberation Army of China.
Source: Air Force