Here are new details about the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance Fighter in a biennial report for acquisition, which it released last week.
“Designed to complement the F-35, F-22, joint, and partner forces in the Air Superiority role, Next Generation Air Dominance is an advanced aircraft program for the development of penetrating counter-air platforms with multi-domain awareness, agile resilient communications, and an integrated family of capabilities.”
The report also features a concept image of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance Fighter. It appears on page 55.
The aircraft depicted in the image is a large, diamond-shaped fighter jet with large engine air intakes over the airplane’s wing, trailing to the left and right of the cockpit, where the intakes would be shielded from radar from below.
The aircraft also features two engines, a bubble canopy cockpit, and two vertical stabilizers that can be retracted to fold flat into the wings.
The image also hints at the capability to refit the aircraft with weapon and propulsion upgrades. The fighter is seen alongside three versions of air-to-air missiles, landing gear, and engines labeled V1, V2, and V3.
Modern combat aircraft receive new weapons all the time, but refitting an existing aircraft with new engines is generally considered too complicated.
According to the report, the NGAD is a highly advanced dynamic threat and demands a different way of doing
business. Next Generation Air Dominance is a family of capabilities that enable Air Superiority in the most challenging operational environments by enforcing the development pillars of digital engineering, agile software development, and open architectures.
By executing shorter technology development cycles, the program matures technology and reduces risk through prototyping and operational experimentation. This delivers enhancements in survivability, lethality, and persistence for a highly-contested environment.