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Lockheed Martin may have just given us a peak at the new NGAD fighter through an Instagram Story. Yes, you read that right.
On July 1, 2023, Lockheed Martin’s official Instagram account posted a series of images related to Skunk Works’ 80th anniversary.
If you didn’t know by now, the infamous “Skunk Works” is where the company usually develops its most highly classified military programs. Since its inception in 1943, the Skunk Works division has pumped out several iconic aircraft, such as the U-2, SR-71, F-22, and F-35.
We’ve already known that the US has been trying to develop an F-22 replacement since 2014. However, until now, we’re still not sure who’ll win the contract. There have been many speculations that the new NGAD program has three competitors – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing.
In 2012, Lockheed Martin released a calendar to journalists that included a new render for a 6th-generation fighter that looks like it borrowed some designs from Northrop’s YF-23. That same design resurfaced in 2017 when Lockheed released a new animation that featured the design.
Later that same year, they released another new render resembling the X-44 Manta and the new Instagram Story.
Furthermore, in 2021, short footage from Lockheed’s Helendale testing facility parking lot was leaked. The aircraft, which featured a very unusual shape, was photographed on a trailer as it was relocated within the facility.
In 2022, we got two more potential glimpses of Lockheed’s concept. This came from their render for the LMXT Tanker Program, showcasing the fighter being refueled by the tanker.
The other concept was seen parked on a runway at Area 51, with the images taken via satellite. However, nobody knows for certain if this was Lockheed’s creation.
Regardless, we can’t say for SURE that Lockheed’s Instagram Story is the real deal. Until then, this might be the closest we’ll get to knowing what the NGAD fighter might look like.