US Air Force last week opened multibillion-dollar competition for the full-scale production of the sixth generation fighter. The service will choose only one company to design the aircraft.
What is known
Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman will have to make every effort to win the contract. The US Air Force cannot afford to select multiple contractors due to the high cost. Although several companies were working on the concept.
Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall (Frank Kendall) said that one fighter will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. In total, the service wants to receive “about 200 aircraft” to replace about the same number of F-22 Raptor. At the same time, experts believe that a more likely target is 250 fighters.
On the other hand, the Secretary of the US Air Force emphasized that he was not so much concerned about the total number of aircraft in service as their modernization. The service neglected this for years, he said, while China aggressively built up its air dominance and air defense capabilities. The US did not react to this as quickly as it should have.
The sixth generation fighter is being developed as part of the Next Generation Air Dominance program (NGAD). It has its roots in the Aerospace Innovation Initiative, which began under the administration of Barack Obama.
The Aerospace Innovation Initiative was designed to create a set of sixth-generation technologies for future air supremacy. As a result, in 2015 a contract was signed for the production of experimental prototypes and testing of new technologies, which eventually formed the basis of NGAD.
Source: Air & Space Forces Magazine