US 6th generation combat aircraft by the end of this decade

WASHINGTON — The United States is working on a prototype for a sixth-generation fighter jet which is expected to be available by the end of this decade. US Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall has announced that the US Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance [NGAD] system has not entered the development phase.

US 6th generation combat aircraft by the end of this decade
Photo: AFResearchLab / YouTube

“We think we’ll have the capability by the end of the decade,” Kendall said of the plane’s future at an event at the Heritage Foundation. Asked by reporters for more details, the minister declined to comment due to the classified status of secrecy of the entire program.

However, what Kendall has revealed has long been commented on in recent years as rumors in the public sphere, namely: the sixth-generation fighter jet will be equipped with new technologies, new weapons capabilities, new sensor systems, and autonomous command and joint missions with unmanned aerial vehicles. reminds us that a full-scale prototype has already been developed, but it is not the final concept, but a starting point for the development of the sixth-generation aircraft. In 2020, although they failed to hide from the public, the US Air Force conducted tests of this prototype.

Sixth-gen fighter - US is preparing destructive technology
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Will Roper spoke on the subject, emphasizing that the prototype has “broken” records and lived up to expectations. “What we did was an experimental prototype,” Kendall explained. “In principle, we had the X plane program, which was designed to reduce the risk of some of the key technologies we will need for a production program.”

Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman are the likely executors of the project, but who exactly will develop the next generation fighter is also classified information. Experts suggest that based on statements from political circles in Washington, it is likely that the contractor is only one, not a shared production.


There are many mysteries. As we mentioned, no official document provides information on the manufacturer of this fighter or the manufacturers’ group. All that is known is that in the coming years [2021-2025], the US Government plans nearly $ 10 billion for this project. In the last year 2021, the United States allocated $ 1 billion under the NGAD program, and for 2022 $ 1.5 billion has already been requested.

A USAF report presents a conceptual image of the 6th generation fighter. But it also does not provide the necessary information. We can see only a fighter jet with two engines and a flying wing-like design. But the French edition reminds us that the presented sketch profile reminds us of a suspicious flying object shot in the distant 2008 in the sky over California.

See what the sixth generation US fighter will look like
Photo credit: USAF

“A family of capabilities that will provide air superiority in the most difficult operational environment,” the report said. Mention is again made of digital engineering and flexible software development, which should greatly facilitate the development and integration the future fighter into the US Air Force. The report argues that these “short cycles” [digital engineering and flexible open-source software – ed.] Make it possible to reduce operational experiments and prototyping risks.


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