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The Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program is the US Air Force’s sixth-generation air superiority project that aims to field an aircraft that will succeed the F-22 Raptor. NGAD is a “family of systems”, with the fighter as the cornerstone, and uncrewed escort planes for support.
To round up its stealth features, the NGAD has an overall triangular shape without traditional vertical stabilizers. Furthermore, the fighter will likely carry its weapons and fuel internally.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall stated that the new aircraft might cost hundreds of millions of dollars. For reference, the F-35’s price tag comes at around $90 million apiece. So far, the US has given at least $9 billion for its development.
Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCAs) are part of the NGAD’s “family of systems”. The Air Force plans to acquire these drones at no more than half the cost of an F-35. These drones are expected to be less survivable but capable enough in combat. A competition for the sixth-gen drone wingman could begin in the next year.