US said it has tested is 6th generation fighter jet

According to Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, the US Air Force has “quietly built and flown a brand-new aircraft prototype” that would become its next-generation fighter, Oriana Pawlyk of reported.

Roper offered the revelation during the virtual 2020 Air, Space and Cyber conference, pointing out that the new aircraft is part of the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, which defies a single platform, featuring a network of advanced sensors and weapons in a growing and unpredictable threat environment.

All that USAF mumbo-jumbo basically means, it’s new, and possibly groundbreaking.

“NGAD immediately is designing, assembling, testing within the digital world — exploring things that might have cost time and money to attend for physical world results,” he said. “NGAD has come thus far that the full-scale flight demonstrator has already flown within the physical world.”

During a roundtable with reporters, Roper declined to offer specifics on the project, except that the craft was created using digital engineering, which allows the service to bypass the regular manufacturing process for parts and provides developers more flexibility to style and alter blueprints, the report said.

The new aircraft has “broken tons of records and is showing digital engineering isn’t a fluke,” Roper said. He declined to discuss whether the defense industry has taken part within the endeavor.

While he touted the expedited process of digital methods, “we don’t want our adversaries to know what they are,” Roper added, no doubt meaning China and Russia.

The news comes four years after the Air Force laid out initial plans for what its future fighter jets might appear as if , the report said.

During the 2019 Paris Air Show, Roper said discussions were ongoing within the service about the necessity for a proposed sixth-gen fighter concept, which might be the successor to the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, or something more elaborate.

That October, the service cut the ribbon on the “Program Executive Office for Advanced Aircraft” during a ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the report said.

The Air Force hopes to maneuver fast on its futuristic projects. Roper last year debuted the Digital Century Series acquisition model, with the goal of using interconnectable, agile software and competitive technology prototyping to place together a combat-ready fighter jet in an estimated five years’ time.

While many envision a futuristic manned fighter as a successor to today’s fifth-generation platforms, Roper has said the NGAD program could include fighters and autonomous drones fighting side-by-side, the report said.

For example, the autonomous Skyborg — which aims to pair artificial intelligence with a human piloting a fighter jet — is intended for reusable unmanned aerial vehicles in a manned-unmanned teaming mission; the drones are considered “attritable,” or cheap enough that they will be destroyed without significant cost.

According to Defense News, the Digital Century Series is much different than the Air Force’s initial sixth-generation fighter project, known as Penetrating Counter Air, which the service wanted to field the early 2030s.

That jet would be part of a networked family of systems that include drones, sensors and other platforms formed after a decade of prototyping efforts.

In contrast, the Digital Century Series model would require multiple defense contractors to develop new fighter jets during a matter of years using whatever technological advances have recently emerged.

The Air Force would then downselect to one vendor, buy alittle number of aircraft and restart the method — allowing companies to constantly be designing and producing planes.

Roper, in an interview with Defence News in June, projected that aircraft development under a Digital Century Series model might be costlier than legacy methods thanks to having multiple companies under contract and requiring them to style and prototype aircraft very quickly. However, he also believes sustainment and modernization costs will be far lower.

If that theory are often proved call at the acquisition strategy, Congress might more likely comply with fund an unconventional, experimental program.

“How long we keep the aircraft is one of the variables that they are weighing [as part of the business case]. How many years make sense? It’s clearly not two, three, four, five, but we don’t want it to be 30 either. So they’re looking at that,” Roper told Defense News.

“They’re looking at the amount of modernization that would be expected — what we would expect that to cost and if it gets easier with digital tools. And then summing it all up to ascertain whether the value of getting a lethal airplane per annum is a smaller amount than for the Digital Century Series model than for the traditional.”

“If it is, that is going to really help us, I hope, because we’ll show that data and argue that it is not just better from a ‘competing with China and lethality’ standpoint. It’s just better from a business standpoint,” Roper said. “If it breaks even or is less [than traditional methods], I will be exceptionally happy. If it’s more expensive — and I hope not exceptionally more — then we’re going to have to argue” on behalf of the program.

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