NGAD Scheduled for 2024 – What We Know So Far

NGAD Scheduled for 2024 – What We Know So Far | Frontline Videos

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The US Air Force is slated to select the winner of the 6th-generation NGAD fighter competition next year. The new fighter is expected to replace the F-22 Raptor with 200 of them built in the future.

Not Just Any Fighter

Being a 6th-gen fighter, the NGAD has a lot to live up to. The NGAD is a family of systems – and at the centerpiece is a manned fighter aircraft that is advanced, hyper stealthy, and has been referred to as “PCA” or Penetrating Counter Air.

What Makes It Special?

It boasts a tailless design, seeing as how vertical tails can degrade stealth by increasing the aircraft’s radar cross-section. Vertical tails also create drag which can further reduce the NGAD’s projected top speed.

To significantly improve its stealthy design, the fighter’s engine exhausts are shrouded to reduce its infrared signature. This can be seen as a huge advantage, since modern platforms heavily rely on infrared search and track systems (IRSTs) to detect stealth aircraft.

If that’s not enough, the NGAD is also looking to use radar-absorbent material throughout its airframe while also possibly making use of a Distributed Aperture System or DAS, which are widely used in F-35s today.

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Still, even after years of speculation, nobody knows who’ll win the contract for the NGAD fighter. Most recently, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall had stated that they weren’t going to do two NGAD versions – just one.

But while the finalists haven’t been confirmed, some have already speculated that the list of finalists consists of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing. Who do you think has it in the bag?


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