WASHINGTON – Over the next decade, the United States will gradually retire the F-22 stealth fighter and most likely replace it with a family of fighter jets and drones, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing an analytical article in Politico and an interview with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.
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Frank Kendall said that the United States is beginning to develop programs for two secret drones, and which will be evident in the military budget for 2023, which should be presented by the administration of Joe Biden early next year.
“I’ve got two that I’m going to have in the ‘23 budget in some form,” Kendall said in an interview at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday. “They’re both unmanned air combat vehicles, unmanned platforms that are designed to work in conjunction with fighter aircraft like [the Next Generation Air Dominance fighter] or F-22 or the F-35. On the other hand, they work in conjunction with bombers like the B-21.”
US military experts believe that the two new secret drones whose programs will receive funding will be a “loyal wingman” program and a drone to operate and jointly support the B-21 bombers.
Frank Kendall’s acknowledgment that the United States will fund secret drone programs in the coming years is expected, and some experts say it’s too late because analysts have predicted that the programs will be funded in the 2022 budget. On the other hand, Washington’s willingness to give money speaks to the Pentagon’s desire to rely on autonomous weapons systems to give the United States an advantage in military competition with China.
The Next-Generation Air Dominance program is expected to be a family of fighter jets and unmanned aircraft. It is set to replace the F-22 stealth fighter in the next decade. However, according to sources, the United States has deliberately delayed this program, as it expects to see the progress of two countries with which it works together – Britain and Australia. However, these drones will have to take part in missions that are dangerous for the pilot and the fighter he pilots.
As for the secret drone to support the B-21 bombers, we recently wrote that the RQ-180 White Bat is a “presumed” spy drone of the US Air Force in the category – drones flying at high altitudes and long-endurance [HALE]. So far, sources claim that the RQ-180 White Bat has performed at least three “test flights” – in the skies over California and Nevada, and “perhaps” over the Philippines.
There is another possibility. The RQ-180 “White Bat” project is more advanced than we think. This will not be a precedent in military affairs and production, especially since we learned about Global Hawk years ago at a time when he already had several military missions behind him. The Russians acted in the same way with the Su-57 Felon, learning of its working prototypes only after satellite images showed their presence at the Kmeininm airbase in Syria.
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