With the F-35 barely out the front door, the U.S. military is already trying to figure out what America's next-generation fighter jet will look like. The U.S. Air Force's Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program is conducting research and development work that will ultimately lead to an air superiority fighter to take the place of the F-22. The program is due for a large increase in funding, as the Trump administration suggested an eight-fold increase for the NGAD program, up to $168 million from just $21 million.
The request comes in the form of the White House's supplemental budget plan for 2017. As Aviation Week points out, the full increase is highly unlikely to be approved as it would require lifting Budget Control Act (BCA) caps, something that takes 60 votes in the Senate. Still, the request for such a sharp increase indicates that the White House will be pumping more resources into the NGAD program, and the Air Force will likely move forward with the program more quickly than anticipated.
Not much is known about the next-generation fighter in terms of design specifics. Boeing, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, and Northrop Grumman have all released sixth-generation fighter concepts and put together teams to begin R&D work. Stealth, autonomous controls, and self-healing structures have all been mentioned in the various sixth-generation fighter reports, but until one of the big defense contractors actually builds a prototype, we just won't know. The proposed timetables see a sixth-generation fighter being completed some time in the 2030s.
Source: Aviation Week
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