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

bring_it_on

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One of NG NGAD public concepts
Can you say us where this picture come from?, the design of the NGAD look some big f-35 like design. Northrop could be the builder of the demonstrator.....

There is no naval demonstrator. The Navy has barely completed its AOA and seems to be heading towards a more traditional acquisition model as opposed to the "Digital Century Series" path that the Air Force has committed to (for now).
 

dark sidius

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One of NG NGAD public concepts
Can you say us where this picture come from?, the design of the NGAD look some big f-35 like design. Northrop could be the builder of the demonstrator.....

There is no naval demonstrator. The Navy has barely completed its AOA and seems to be heading towards a more traditional acquisition model as opposed to the "Digital Century Series" path that the Air Force has committed to (for now).
Sure I agree but this picture show a Navy NGAD not USAF one. Or may be they work for the two services on the same platform? In this time we see Northrop pictures , on the Darpa Longshot and now on the Navy NGAD I have the feeling that Northrop could be the leader in military plane for 21th century.
 

bring_it_on

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One of NG NGAD public concepts
Can you say us where this picture come from?, the design of the NGAD look some big f-35 like design. Northrop could be the builder of the demonstrator.....

There is no naval demonstrator. The Navy has barely completed its AOA and seems to be heading towards a more traditional acquisition model as opposed to the "Digital Century Series" path that the Air Force has committed to (for now).
Sure I agree but this picture show a Navy NGAD not USAF one. Or may be they work for the two services on the same platform? In this time we see Northrop pictures , on the Darpa Longshot and now on the Navy NGAD I have the feeling that Northrop could be the leader in military plane for 21th century.

The Navy wants to get ready to accelerate its NGAD starting FY-22 and beyond, so it is logical for Northrop's marketing to highlight a next gen. naval fighter. Boeing has been doing it for like a decade if not more its normal behavior. :). Of course whatever may exist now is just notional art since the Navy is barely out of the AoA and needs to establish formal requirements to which Northrop, and others will design to.
 

flateric

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Fluff

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bring_it_on

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They should have showcased it on the deck of a Ford class carrier.
 

TomcatViP

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Josh_TN

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An F-35 doesn't have a significantly lower fly away cost than a new build F-16 or F-18 at this point. It probably does have much a higher per hour flight cost. But then you have to weigh that against the costs of new design R&D and parts/training stream, which I think would quickly swallow any operational savings.

If you need a 4+ gen aircraft, buy more F-15s. It's in production, training and parts are somewhat established (I assume the new models vary pretty violently from C's in avionics), and there is already a major buy of them for AD purposes anyway. If you just need something for ground attack, you can festoon air to ground ordnance on it like a christmas tree.
 
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rooster

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So what is so affordable about designing a great fighter and cancelling it after building 180? Then building another greater fighter and cancelling that? Good lord if they had just stuck with the F22 in the first place... Braindead Washington DC is back in full force I see. Ok so by 2030 we will be flying a less advanced fighter prototype after spending hundreds of billions to develop the worlds best fighters and cancelling them.

Then, oh my goodness the threats have advanced and we need something better.

Gotta waste my tax dollars on something, right? Business as usual is back in business with president Harris.
 

helmutkohl

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So what is so affordable about designing a great fighter and cancelling it after building 180? Then building another greater fighter and cancelling that? Good lord if they had just stuck with the F22 in the first place... Braindead Washington DC is back in full force I see. Ok so by 2030 we will be flying a less advanced fighter prototype after spending hundreds of billions to develop the worlds best fighters and cancelling them.

Then, oh my goodness the threats have advanced and we need something better.

Gotta waste my tax dollars on something, right? Business as usual is back in business with president Harris.
wasn't Gates the one that cancelled the F-22?
 

Bhurki

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So what is so affordable about designing a great fighter and cancelling it after building 180?
F22 isnt the so called open-architecture compliant. That means it takes a hell lot more time to push upgrades and newer block standards than they want to, both software and hardware wise.

It is a single mission jet made specifically for OCA, with other mission sets being satisfied partially as a result of intersection of capabilities required.
So, it might seem as if its a really good platform to conduct S/DEAD missions, but then you're using it for something that utilizes only a fraction of its capabilities for a high operating cost.

Lets stop beating the pentagon and the budget for curtailing the production. They wanted to enjoy their time after USSR fell.
 

NeilChapman

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One of NG NGAD public concepts
Maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see in that image but that design looks like it might have some F-23 DNA in the mix.
Agreed :) makes sense.

First thing I saw as well. The chine, high canopy (although not the rear view of the YF-23), the distance back to the leading edge of the wing, and the angle of the stabilizer. I like it.

I'd love to see NG build NGAD. It's not like they don't have the experience. They are responsible for the F-5, A-10, F-18, built fuselage's for F-18's and F-35's, and designed and built the YF-23. Their production expertise w/F-35 will serve them well w/B-21 - and by extension, NGAD. Perhaps NG for one branch and LM for the other?

Frankly, with NGAD I'd like to see a complete change in how we fly. When I drive a Tesla, the first thing I do on the freeway is pull that stalk down twice (engage autopilot). Autopilot removes all the basic requirements for driving. I "pilot" for exceptions. The same is possible for flying. I should be able to point the system to a place in space and the jet will take me there, best speed, handling all avoidance issues. I should be able to "join up" with other jets and the system should manage our separation, speed, etc, so we don't have to think about it at all. Refueling at tankers should be automated. These are no-brainers. If an F-35C can automatically land so precisely that they had to code in offsets to not prematurely wear a flight deck then surely "full self flying" is attainable. But perhaps this is already happening?
 

Jeb

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Frankly, with NGAD I'd like to see a complete change in how we fly. When I drive a Tesla, the first thing I do on the freeway is pull that stalk down twice (engage autopilot). Autopilot removes all the basic requirements for driving. I "pilot" for exceptions. The same is possible for flying. I should be able to point the system to a place in space and the jet will take me there, best speed, handling all avoidance issues. I should be able to "join up" with other jets and the system should manage our separation, speed, etc, so we don't have to think about it at all. Refueling at tankers should be automated. These are no-brainers. If an F-35C can automatically land so precisely that they had to code in offsets to not prematurely wear a flight deck then surely "full self flying" is attainable. But perhaps this is already happening?
Eh...I don't know if I'd promote that mindset quite so much. Just like recent Tesla Autopilot "saves" I've seen on video where it's clear the driver wasn't paying attention to what was going on around the car until the car jerks away from a near-miss that an active driver would have just stayed clear of in the first place, all that automation does is make it that much easier for the pilot to get behind the jet and not be as attentive and proactive in flight operation.
 

AN/AWW-14(V)

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1.jpg

The Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $74 million contract to integrate the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile with existing fighter jets "and other current inventory or next-generation platforms that may join the Air Force or Navy inventory before the end of fiscal 2029," according to a Defense Department contract notice released today.

The notice did not name a particular platform Raytheon may be integrating AMRAAM with, and an Air Force spokesman did not immediately reply to Inside Defense’s request for comment.

The service has two known efforts to consider future fighter jet options.

One is the Next-Generation Air Dominance project that is evaluating the use of digital engineering to develop new aircraft systems and technology and has already flown a proof-of-concept demonstrator. The Navy is also pursuing its own Next-Generation Air Dominance platform as a successor to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Today's notice states Raytheon will provide aircraft lab, flight test, flight clearance and simulation support to integrate AMRAAM with the jets. The work will primarily occur in Tucson, AZ, until March 2032 when the contract ends.

 
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Flyaway

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View attachment 651969

The Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $74 million contract to integrate the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile with existing fighter jets "and other current inventory or next-generation platforms that may join the Air Force or Navy inventory before the end of fiscal 2029," according to a Defense Department contract notice released today.

The notice did not name a particular platform Raytheon may be integrating AMRAAM with, and an Air Force spokesman did not immediately reply to Inside Defense’s request for comment.

The service has two known efforts to consider future fighter jet options.

One is the Next-Generation Air Dominance project that is evaluating the use of digital engineering to develop new aircraft systems and technology and has already flown a proof-of-concept demonstrator. The Navy is also pursuing its own Next-Generation Air Dominance platform as a successor to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Today's notice states Raytheon will provide aircraft lab, flight test, flight clearance and simulation support to integrate AMRAAM with the jets. The work will primarily occur in Tucson, AZ, until March 2032 when the contract ends.

Well that could include the B-21 & RQ-180 both of whom I have seen alleged in the past will have air to air capability for defending themselves.
 

Zoomer

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One question:
Is this 6th gen fighter going to be a flying wing design?

First of all, dogfighting is over so having a vertical tail for manoeuvrability is not a requirement. Secondly, it's a proven design. Numerous drones and bombers already in service are flying wings. Thirdly, it's offering all aspect stealth and I suppose that's a requirement for a 6th gen plane, along with variable cycle engines etc. Fourthly, we've seen many concept photos from different companies that do not have vertical tails.

What do you think?
 

In_A_Dream

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One question:
Is this 6th gen fighter going to be a flying wing design?

First of all, dogfighting is over so having a vertical tail for manoeuvrability is not a requirement. Secondly, it's a proven design. Numerous drones and bombers already in service are flying wings. Thirdly, it's offering all aspect stealth and I suppose that's a requirement for a 6th gen plane, along with variable cycle engines etc. Fourthly, we've seen many concept photos from different companies that do not have vertical tails.

What do you think?
Diamond/Delta Wing more than likely. There will probably be some degree of tactical capability given the fighter designation.
 

Deino

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Any estimation or guess when we'll get a first glimpse of its configuration or even an image of that alleged demonstrator?
 

Geo

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"... we've seen many concept photos from different companies that do not have vertical tails."

[/QUOTE]

And that is exactly the reason to believe the opposite.
 

Moose

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Any estimation or guess when we'll get a first glimpse of its configuration or even an image of that alleged demonstrator?
Well. HAVE BLUE stayed out of sight for quite a while. But I think we may see something like the B-21 images USAF circulates sooner than that: a vague "concept" image which keeps the details light but gives us an idea.
 

TomcatViP

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First of all, dogfighting is over so having a vertical tail for manoeuvrability is not a requirement.
@Zoomer : This will never be the case. Among the requirements for a fighter jet, there will still be interception. If tomorrow your 6th Gen airframe can't outdog a well flown Cessna at low speed, your relative security is over: your opponents will throw out their expensive weapons and buy bulks of Light aircrafts... Just like they do with Toyota.
Also, Stealth Vs Stealth will involve a lot of last second detection where noze pointing and rate of turn will be paramount.
Think also yourself with one of those robotic platform in your tail. The last thing you'd want is an airframe that can't turn.
 
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Josh_TN

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A sub sonic aircraft is always going to extend the no escape zone for an incoming missile and greatly limit interception geometries while also drastically limiting disengagement options. I think it might be useful to have existing subsonic platforms like bombers have some kind of air to air capability, just because it seems like a software and ejector change now adays (I personally am hoping B-21 has separate wing bays for self defense weapons like AGM-88G and possible AAMs), and it probably isn't cost effective to make UAVs super sonic in most cases. But the primary air interception platform will always have to have a supersonic capability or else it will find itself a victim of asymmetrical tactics.
 

Zoomer

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Thank you Tomcat! I suppose it would have V-shaped vertical fins, like the F23 for example. Best of both worlds imo. Super stealthy and manoeuvrable at the same time.

I expect variable cycle engines with advanced IR signature reduction, GaN radar, advanced materials and coatings (all aspect stealth), active self defence (micromissiles, DEWs), advanced EW/ECM (integrated jammers etc) and interdiction capabilities (remember, it has to replace both F22 and F15E/F18E) and on those missions it would probably command high performance Loyal Wingmen for increased fuel and payload, hence the talk for "multiple airframes". That ofc requires extreme processing, AI and connectivity capabilities or even a second seat.

It will also have to escort bombers which means extreme range. Here is your bomber defence Josh!

It will probably follow the Super Hornet development cycle (where integration of radars, engines, sensors etc happened over time) in order to reduce costs. That's another hint of the "multiple airframes" rumors.

Honestly, I do not see the AF and the Navy developing their own plane. They have to work together. I can't see how they are gonna find the money for 2 different planes. Congress won't allow it. Same plane, two versions, like the F35A/C is the best solution imo. What do you guys think?
 

In_A_Dream

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Honestly, I do not see the AF and the Navy developing their own plane. They have to work together. I can't see how they are gonna find the money for 2 different planes. Congress won't allow it. Same plane, two versions, like the F35A/C is the best solution imo. What do you guys think?
How many aircraft do you think the USAF is going to produce under the Digital Century Series?
 

Josh_TN

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I suspect it will be a number of different aircraft and demonstrators, but in terms of manned platforms I would guess only one production airframe.

I also think the USN is going to have a hard time funding an independent program. I think it would have to borrow heavily from what ever the USAF produces.
 

Zoomer

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Exactly. 1 plane, 2 versions like the F35A/C. Besides, the Navy doesn't have the money anyway.

As for the plane itself, different demonstrators will be developed. They will integrate different technologies and test what works and what doesn't, until they reach the "final product" of the century series and mass production will begin. They don't want the platform to become obsolete once it reaches mass production, especially when everyone is developing 5th/6th gen aircraft these days. The development process will be similar to the Super Hornet (people hate this plane, but the program and the implementation was great) in order to reduce costs. It will also include Loyal Wingmen for interdiction missions so it's not gonna be a "single" airframe.

That's my guess.
 
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