USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA, ASFS

Avimimus

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So... in terms of official NGAD, F/A-XX, and F-X concepts... are there any I'm missing?

Also - does anyone know of an attempt to draw profiles of the existing concepts? Or is everyone waiting until after the official competition completes? I haven't found any yet.
 

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flateric

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So... in terms of official NGAD, F/A-XX, and F-X concepts... are there any I'm missing?

Also - does anyone know of an attempt to draw profiles of the existing concepts? Or is everyone waiting until after the official competition completes? I haven't found any yet.
3 & 4 are not official ones
 

bring_it_on

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So... in terms of official NGAD, F/A-XX, and F-X concepts... are there any I'm missing?

The two from Lockheed (I think they've come out with two though there could be more). More if you want to include the art floated around by the likes of Raytheon, BAE and others.
 

Avimimus

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So... in terms of official NGAD, F/A-XX, and F-X concepts... are there any I'm missing?

Also - does anyone know of an attempt to draw profiles of the existing concepts? Or is everyone waiting until after the official competition completes? I haven't found any yet.
3 & 4 are not official ones

Makes sense. That particular tailless canard layout always felt wrong to me.

This one is my personal favourite

I always liked that layout - the McDD/Northrop/BAe JSF and Checkmate... but for a sixth generation design I'm hoping for a pure tailless/flying-wing design. This is one of the few places where the requirements and funding might be sufficient to produce a supersonic flying wing.

So... in terms of official NGAD, F/A-XX, and F-X concepts... are there any I'm missing?

The two from Lockheed (I think they've come out with two though there could be more). More if you want to include the art floated around by the likes of Raytheon, BAE and others.
Never worked out this one, posted as NG NGAD on ATS awhile back and no one commented on it.
Also - does anyone know of an attempt to draw profiles of the existing concepts? Or is everyone waiting until after the official competition completes? I haven't found any yet.

Thanks for the replies!
 

Dragon029

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I think the author is just misinformed; the quote below is just silly given that stealth, payload capacity and range better than the F-22's are critical for the USAF's NGAD program, with the effort required to retrofit the F-22's design for these requirements being comparable to a clean-sheet effort (possibly even greater as at least a clean-sheet gives you more freedom):
The F-22 will transition to the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter. NGAD will use the F-22 airframe, but will add better technology and sensors.
 

Foo Fighter

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Perhaps an indicator, Boeing acquired the F-18 after all. I know, simplified but the main point is valid.
 

TomS

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I think the author is just misinformed; the quote below is just silly given that stealth, payload capacity and range better than the F-22's are critical for the USAF's NGAD program, with the effort required to retrofit the F-22's design for these requirements being comparable to a clean-sheet effort (possibly even greater as at least a clean-sheet gives you more freedom):
The F-22 will transition to the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter. NGAD will use the F-22 airframe, but will add better technology and sensors.

Pretty sure that the author either misunderstood, or an editor mangled it.

Here's Air Force Magazine writing about the same speech:

USAF wants to modernize the F-22 Raptor until the Next Generation Air Dominance platform comes online;
 

LMFS

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They speak about a modified and modernised F-22 for NGAD, is it a sign that Lockheed is the contractor ?
I predicted it more than 2 months ago, when they started talking about first and second iteration of NGAD, European theater NGAD not really needing so much range, them having a flying demonstrator already and so on. They are going to cover up the urgent replacement of USAF's 5G and the development of 6G proper under the guise of NGAD and digital engineering's fast development cycle, so they get two programs approved with the political excuse of developing just one. It is a nice PR effort, but they have become predictable.
 

rooster

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They speak about a modified and modernised F-22 for NGAD, is it a sign that Lockheed is the contractor ?
I predicted it more than 2 months ago, when they started talking about first and second iteration of NGAD, European theater NGAD not really needing so much range, them having a flying demonstrator already and so on. They are going to cover up the urgent replacement of USAF's 5G and the development of 6G proper under the guise of NGAD and digital engineering's fast development cycle, so they get two programs approved with the political excuse of developing just one. It is a nice PR effort, but they have become predictable.
Ah but why did the USAF not restart the 22 line 5 years ago when they came up with the 55B figure to build 200 modernized raptors? It seemed the 55B made it a nonstarter.
 

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Ah but why did the USAF not restart the 22 line 5 years ago when they came up with the 55B figure to build 200 modernized raptors? It seemed the 55B made it a nonstarter.
Back then the priority was to avoid threatening F-35, but it was clear from the beginning that F-22 needs attention and is the most logical basis for improving USAF's air superiority capabilities. They can use the name and approach they want, be it restarting the production line with some upgrades, the F-22/F-35 hybrid or a first iteration NGAD, they need to do something, and do it rather quick.

Digital engineering is here to stay, so the new working methods will be used but what is in discussion is whether the platforms are going to be cycled in reduced periods, right? It is unsurprising that CAPE sees the costs of that not being cheaper but actually more expensive, it looked rather an excuse to justify the two iteration approach to NGAD than a valid argument.
 

Flyaway

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Very interesting though unlikely to have been a pole model of a working design. No way would they be that sloppy. Could be an intentional leak.
A highly classified test program yet they cannot afford a tarpaulin to throw over a test model. Seems unlikely.
 

bobbymike

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Very interesting though unlikely to have been a pole model of a working design. No way would they be that sloppy. Could be an intentional leak.
A highly classified test program yet they cannot afford a tarpaulin to throw over a test model. Seems unlikely.
Don’t underestimate general incompetence
 

dark sidius

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Very interesting though unlikely to have been a pole model of a working design. No way would they be that sloppy. Could be an intentional leak.
A highly classified test program yet they cannot afford a tarpaulin to throw over a test model. Seems unlikely.
Don’t underestimate general incompetence
Or just blow mind of China with lost picture :D I don't believe it is on Tik Tok for mistake
 

rooster

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Ah but why did the USAF not restart the 22 line 5 years ago when they came up with the 55B figure to build 200 modernized raptors? It seemed the 55B made it a nonstarter.
Back then the priority was to avoid threatening F-35, but it was clear from the beginning that F-22 needs attention and is the most logical basis for improving USAF's air superiority capabilities. They can use the name and approach they want, be it restarting the production line with some upgrades, the F-22/F-35 hybrid or a first iteration NGAD, they need to do something, and do it rather quick.

Digital engineering is here to stay, so the new working methods will be used but what is in discussion is whether the platforms are going to be cycled in reduced periods, right? It is unsurprising that CAPE sees the costs of that not being cheaper but actually more expensive, it looked rather an excuse to justify the two iteration approach to NGAD than a valid argument.
I have been around long enough to remember designing cars the old fashioned way. Digital engineering still takes 3 years to design and build a passenger vehicle. It never got us down to the 2 year wet dream. And actually its a little more than 3 years because of powertrain development. I would say digital engineering shaved 20% time. That's it. I imagine with military aircraft its about the same. I will also say that digital engineering has enormously complicated lengthy security protocols that actually make it worse than the old days from the 90s. Digital engineering isn't a panacea.
 

icyplanetnhc (Steve)

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Using new digital methods to design a future Air Force fighter costs more than the traditional approach, but subsequent iterations could be done faster and less expensively, senior Air Force officials said Sept. 22. They also cautioned that the “Digital Century Series” is not synonymous with the Next Generation Air Dominance program and that no decision has been made about whether to take the approach on an NGAD successor.

The results of the Air Force’s business case analysis of the Digital Century Series approach to combat aircraft design differs from that developed by the Pentagon’s Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation shop, top uniformed USAF acquisition official Lt. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson told reporters Sept. 22. The CAPE’s numbers were higher than the Air Force’s but were highly subjective anyway, he said, because assumptions play a central role in defining costs.

“The differences … are in assumptions about [operations and sustainment] costs, and O&S cost avoidance,” Richardson said. “Another one is in the area of O&S cost growth; in other words, how much you project … the sustainment costs [will be], including manpower. The third area would be the time period of analysis.” The results of any business case analysis are “really sensitive to those assumptions,” he added, and “the assumptions are hard to make; … where do you stop? A traditional program might be on a 30-year-plus cycle, whereas the Digital Century Series system might be on a 16-year cycle. So these are multiples of each other.”

The Digital Century Series was a coinage of former Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper, who suggested that quick-turn design and production of new combat aircraft every few years—produced in lots of 50-100 before being superseded by the next design—would keep the fleet fresh and hold down sustainment costs, because the aircraft would be rapidly retired when their technology grew stale.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Air Force Magazine that Roper’s ideas of what could be saved with the Digital Century Series were “highly optimistic” and agreed that CAPE’s estimate was higher than the Air Force’s, but the two organizations also applied different assumptions about the sustainment period. The CAPE’s analysis was that traditional methods cost “about 10 percent less” than digital. But digital allowed a quicker revisit of the design, and future iterations were less costly, he said.

Richardson acknowledged that CAPE’s cost estimates were higher, but added that the exercise wasn’t without value.

The Digital Century Series approach was “not an order of magnitude more expensive” than traditional methods, Richardson said. Roper’s approach also aimed to “keep the industrial base active and refreshed, being in the … design phase all the time.” There’s a “performance bump-up you get if you’re constantly refreshing your platforms. So, we think it has merit … We’re not flushing it.”

The CAPE results verified “that there’s merit to the idea,” he said. “What I like about the Digital Century Series approach—and the way we’re approaching [the Next-Generation Air Dominance program]—is that there’s always an option of doing that. That’s the beauty of it. It’s a few years out … The good news is, it’s not a decision we would need to make right away, but those assumptions do drive a lot of the results.”

In the near term, “we continue to focus on that first NGAD ‘mission design series,’ if you will, and we’ll make that other decision later.” Richardson noted, “The threat gets a vote, and also I would guess that if we were to start that second series, we would certainly look at the threat and … whether the threat warranted starting a second series early.”

To be frank, I’m not quite convinced that the “Digital Century Series” is the right approach, especially the Century Series part. From the perspective of logistics and support, it may be very difficult or expensive to operate so many disparate aircraft types, especially when USAF’s goal is to reduce the number of aircraft types in order to rein in costs. I can understand trying to emulate the rapid development of aircraft types that’s associated with the Century Series, but a digital engineering repeat of that? Eh, have my doubts.
 
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In_A_Dream

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To be frank, I’m not quite convinced that the “Digital Century Series” is the right approach, especially the Century Series part. From the perspective of logistics and support, it may be very difficult or expensive to operate so many disparate aircraft types, especially when USAF’s goal is to reduce the number of aircraft types in order to rein in costs. I can understand trying to emulate the rapid development of aircraft types that’s associated with the Century Series, but a digital engineering repeat of that? Eh, have my doubts.

What approach would you suggest for an adversary that will be much more well funded and educated than the Soviet Union was? At some point China's investments in STEM will result in an explosion in modernization/R&D, we're behind on that front (STEM investment), so being able to rapidly develop aircraft to maintain an asymmetric advantage is paramount.

Edit: The cost effective talking point I don't think is feasible for what they are proposing, given the extreme unpredictability of the future in regards to US & China.
 
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icyplanetnhc (Steve)

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To be frank, I’m not quite convinced that the “Digital Century Series” is the right approach, especially the Century Series part. From the perspective of logistics and support, it may be very difficult or expensive to operate so many disparate aircraft types, especially when USAF’s goal is to reduce the number of aircraft types in order to rein in costs. I can understand trying to emulate the rapid development of aircraft types that’s associated with the Century Series, but a digital engineering repeat of that? Eh, have my doubts.

What approach would you suggest for an adversary that will be much more well funded and educated than the Soviet Union was? At some point China's investments in STEM will result in an explosion in modernization/R&D, we're behind on that front (STEM investment), so being able to rapidly develop aircraft to maintain an asymmetric advantage is paramount.

Edit: The cost effective talking point I don't think is feasible for what they are proposing, given the extreme unpredictability of the future in regards to US & China.
I think the way that the LRS-B was conducted under the Rapid Capabilities Office provides a better model to follow in terms of more quickly fielding a new platform. Admittedly the RCO is largely a way to sidestep much of the DOD’s procurement bureaucracy and gives more freedom to the program, but I think that may be what’s needed at this point.
 
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