PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Late last year, the United States revealed that it was working to develop a next-generation fighter (6th generation) for the US Air Force. Will Roper, then assistant secretary of the Air Force, announced this information. He said the fighter is developing under the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program. The USAF had already completed the first test flights, exceeding the expectations of the Air Force leadership.
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American sources claim that the new consumer is a “system of systems” or “family of systems” and is codenamed PCA – Penetrating Counting Air. Information reaching us says that the US Air Force already has a demonstrator but an NGAD program. Also, various sources say that the United States is at an advanced stage in developing the future fighter and has an entirely different approach to its production, namely digital engineering.
Faster and smarter
These are the opportunities that digital engineering gives to constructors, designers, and test specialists. Digital engineering is also mentioning in the US Air Force’s biennial report, which provides a complete overview of current programs from 2019 and 2020.
The report does not talk much about the new approach and the possibilities of digital engineering. Also, the report mentioned only two projects – the RQ-180 drone and the B-21 Raider bomber (according to some sources, the B-21 Raider will be able to break through the defenses of the Russian S-400 air defense system – ed.). Of course, for security reasons, the information does not provide details on these two projects either. The RQ-180 drone is a Northrop Grumman project and has already been commissioned in the 427th Reconnaissance Squadron. The only thing mentioned is the cost that the project expects to spend – about $ 12.3 billion for the period from 2021 to 2025 and that the developers will use digital engineering.
But the report also mentions the next-generation fighter and uses, of course, only general information so far. No photo has been published of what the fighter will look like, only a conceptual image. Does this fact beg the question: Will Rupert’s claims that the fighter made a test flight accurate?
The mysteries surrounding the sixth-generation American fighter jet
There are many mysteries. For example, 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 current 2021, the United States will allocate $ 1 billion under the NGAD program, and for the next $ 1.5 billion has been requested.
The USAF report we are quoting 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 opex360.com reminds us that the presented sketch profile reminds us of a suspicious flying object shot in the distant 2008 in the sky over California.
“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 developing and integrating 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.
40 percent human-crewed aircraft, 60 percent drones
We remind you that Pentagon initially included the US Navy in the NGAD program, but it turned out that the needs of the Navy are not precisely the same as those of aviation. However, the signals that are reaching us are that in the coming years, American aviation may drastically change the ratio of the type of aircraft used – 40% human-crewed aircraft and 60% uncrewed aerial vehicles.
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