US Air Force’s Next Generation fighter NGAD reaches new phase

US Air Force’s Next Generation fighter NGAD reaches new phase

According to information published by Opex 360 on June 2, 2022, the United States Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) reaches a new phase, entering its engineering and manufacturing development phase.

The Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) is a United States Air Force (USAF) sixth-generation fighter program with a goal of fielding a “family of systems” that would eventually succeed the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

A manned fighter aircraft is the centerpiece component of the program and has been referred to as the F-X or Penetrating Counter-Air (PCA) and is to be supported by unmanned “Loyal Wingman” platforms.

The NGAD is expected to field the new fighter aircraft in the 2030s. While having an identical name, the program is distinct from the U.S. Navy’s NGAD program, which has the F/A-XX as its fighter component and would have a similar fielding timeframe.

DOD has made no mention of specific NGAD contractors. The three traditional aviation primes all have units devoted to advanced development and prototypes, the best known of which is Lockheed Advanced Development (popularly, the “Skunk Works.”)

Air Force NGAD is budgeted at $9 billion from 2019 to 2025. The FY2021 budget is $1 billion, with a request of $1.5 billion for FY2022. NGAD was originally mooted as a joint project between the Navy and the Air Force, but the two services have created separate NGAD offices.

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