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May 17, 2021

Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) : Navy has revealed a first look at its new fighter jet

Here’s What We Learned About the US Navy’s Sixth Generation Fighting Jet

The US Navy’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program has recently released updated information about the Navy’s state-of-the-art sixth-generation fighter jet.  At Aerospace Manufacturing, we design and manufacturer Navy fasteners as well as work hand in hand on engineering projects so this innovation piqued our curiosity.  Read on for a review of this amazing technology.

The futuristic combat flyer is known as the F/A-XX. These high-tech marvels will replace the Navy’s existing swarm of F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Greg Harris heads up the Chief of Naval Operation’s Air Warfare Directorate. He believes that the new planes will most likely be manned. Nevertheless, the NGAD program itself will be comprised of manned as well as unmanned platforms.

The US Navy NGAD program is fundamentally different from the US Air Force NGAD program. The Air Force is currently working on its F-22 replacement. A recent report included an artistic and conceptual rendition of the latest Air Force contender.

Harris has espoused that NGAD is a family of smaller, separate systems grouped under an extensive umbrella program. The F/A-XX is the star of the show in the fixed-wing portion of the NGAD family of systems.

Further, the Navy sees its NGAD program as more than just one fighter plane. As unmanned teams come online, they will be joined by and integrated with staffed teams to produce outcomes that neither team could accomplish alone.

The program, which the Navy euphemistically calls its “little buddy,” could act as an adjunct air-to-air platform or as an adjunct electronic warfare platform. An adjunct advanced early warning platform is also being considered.

It’s time to replace the E-2D (Advanced Hawkeye), Harris points out in recent statements,  so they are wondering how to replace it.

Although the Air Force uses F/A-XX when referring to the F/A-18 E/F replacement, it uses NGAD when referring to the more prominent family of systems as a whole.

The Navy has divided the NGAD program into two phases. The first phase will involve implementing the replacement for the Super Hornets. The second phase will be to perform a follow-up assessment of the EA-18G Growler.

According to Harris, “We’re going through the study portions of what Inc two will be to replace the EA-18G Growler. And we expect that that family of systems will be a combination of manned and unmanned. flyers.”

At one end, the Navy is looking for an air wing with a 40/60 split between unmanned and staffed teams, Harris explains. At the other end, he says, they’re shooting for a 60/40 split between unmanned and staffed teams. Harris adds that they want an air wing of 50 percent or more unmanned flights over time.

The NGAD program is currently in the concept refinement stage. During this process, the Navy works closely with teams of top industry partners to evaluate the latest technologies.

Many of these technologies are being considered to help with the development of unmanned flights. After a thorough investigation, informed assessments will be made about what’s realistic, possible, and not.

The Navy is looking at whether artificial intelligence is sufficiently evolved for its purposes. Can it be installed inside an unmanned platform? There’s also the current state of autonomy to consider. We’re looking at that, too, he adds.

The Navy will have a better understanding of whether or not the Navy will replace the Super Hornets with an unmanned fighter over the next few years.

Can these systems perform well in air-to-air warfare? That’s the question. “Air-to-air” warfare is one of, if not the most, complex ones to try to put into autonomy. In other words, we’ll have to wait and see.

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