The U.S. Air Force revealed that it has secretly designed, built, and tested a new prototype fighter jet. The fighter, about which we know virtually nothing, has already flown and “broken records?”
The Air Force must now consider how it will buy the new fighter as it struggles to acquire everything from intercontinental ballistic missiles to bombers.
The Air Force built the new fighter under its Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, which aims to build a jet that would supplement, and perhaps even replace, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
The Air Force built 186 Raptors, of which only about 123 are capable of the jet’s full spectrum of combat roles. And at current readiness levels, only around 64 of the fifth-generation fighters are ready to fight at a moment’s notice.
According to Defense News, the Air Force developed the new fighter in about a year—a staggeringly short amount of time by modern standards.
The Air Force first developed a virtual version of the jet, and then proceeded to build and fly a full-sized prototype, complete with mission systems. This is in stark contrast to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
That means it took the Air Force just one year to get to the point with NGAD fighter that it reached in 20 years with the F-35? This appears to be the “record” the Air Force claims the new plane is smashing, and it’s probably right if we must believe the fairy tales media.
We don’t know which defense contractor designed and prototyped the new jet, though it’s almost certainly one of the big aerospace giants (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing).
We don’t know where it flew and where it is now. We don’t know how many prototypes exist. We don’t know what it looks like, what it’s called, how fast it flies, how maneuverable it is, and what special capabilities it has. We don’t know anything.
So what do we do when we don’t know anything? Speculate wildly!
The Air Force designed the NGAD to ensure the service’s “air dominance” in future conflicts versus the fighters of potential adversaries. The new fighter, then, is almost certainly optimized for air-to-air combat.
It’s a safe bet the fighter uses off-the-shelf avionics, engines, and weapons borrowed from other aircraft, such as the F-35 and F/A-18E/F.
In fact, NGAD may look a lot like one of these fighters, though if the Air Force wanted a stealthy design to riff off, there’s only one (F-35) currently in production.
The Air Force first conceived the F-22 Raptor in the late 1980’s and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the 1990’s.
China and Russia built the J-20 and Su-57, respectively, with the F-22 and F-35 in mind, while the American fighters would have to adapt their existing capabilities to face the new Russian and Chinese fighters.
But thanks to the Air Force’s new breakthrough design techniques, we could see a new, operational fighter to dominate these potential adversaries very, very shortly if one might believe in fabricated miracles.
Esquire / ABC Flash Point Aviation Technology News 2021.