Saturday, September 19, 2020

Air Force reveals it secretly built and flew new fighter jet

 Thanks to BlackTail for the link!

via The Hill

The Air Force on Tuesday revealed that it has secretly built and flown a prototype of its next-generation fighter jet, according to the service's top acquisition official.

The jet, built as part of the Air Force's Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, was first disclosed to Defense News on Monday.

Air Force acquisition head Will Roper told the outlet that the service could now move the jet into production "pretty fast."

"We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before," he said in an interview.

Roper then publicly spoke on the jet's existence on Tuesday at an Air Force Association (AFA) virtual conference, telling watchers that "the full-scale flight demonstrator has already flown in the physical world." 

He added that the program "right now is designing, assembling, testing in the digital world, exploring things that would have cost time and money to wait for physical world results." 

The announcement is significant, as this would mark the Air Force's sixth-generation aircraft, a full-scale version of which was not expected for years.

The test flight also comes 20 years after the service first similarly demonstrated an experimental fighter jet for the fifth-generation F-35. 

As the NGAD program is classified, little more is known of the secretive jet. Roper would not give Defense News or the AFA event further details on aircraft, including which company or companies built the prototype, how many were flown, and when or where any flight occurred.  

He also would not say anything about the jet's design, what it would be used for, how many would be bought or the expected cost. 

The Air Force did request a little more than $1 billion for the program in its fiscal 2021 budget proposal to Congress, to be ramped up to a more than $6 billion ask total between fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2025. 

Story here. 

How do you explain this except to say that the USAF is acknowledging that the F-35 is the wrong plane for the future?

Some are pointing to long development times for new jets but I'm not buying it. The F-35 isn't even in full scale deployment in its "go to war" package (which has been watered down).

If you can't see the truth here you're just not wanting to see it.

The F-35 is a failure.

Even the USMC is cutting back on its numbers which will lead the USN to cut its numbers, the USAF has bought into the F-15EX, the Brits are cutting back....the reality is stark.

Not only did we waste time chasing tribals in the Middle East/North Africa, but we also bought a lame horse in the F-35, a pitiful ship in the LCS, and a messed up DoD all around.

Is this the last stage of a failing empire?  An ineffectual and confused military?

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