Our First Look at the Air Force’s “Secret” New Fighter Jet
As the title suggests, this clearly is no secret. In today’s world, it’s hard to know what is real or fake – what seems glaringly obvious is the fact that countries with superior technology and defence capabilities would not openly divulge their projects. But here we are, with Joe Public apparently in the know about a brand-new fighter jet. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Last year, the U.S. Air Force dropped a bombshell—announcing they’d conceived, constructed, and tested a covert fighter jet in just a year. This enigmatic aircraft is part of the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) initiative, a project aimed at bolstering and eventually replacing the renowned F-22 Raptor.
Beyond this revelation—and the tidbit about its F1-style engineering—the Air Force has been tight-lipped. However, they might have given us a tangible clue: captivating concept art of an NGAD fighter in the making. Could this be the elusive new jet?
In the image featured on page 55 of the Air Force’s acquisition report, we see a substantial, diamond-shaped fighter with sizable engine intakes positioned over the wings, extending outward from the cockpit. This design shields the intakes from radar detection below. The fighter boasts twin engines, a canopy cockpit, and two retractable vertical stabilizers that can fold flat into the wings. The image hints at the potential for weapon and propulsion upgrades. While modern jets receive new weaponry, swapping out engines is generally deemed too complex. However, the NGAD’s use of digital engineering technology may enable such upgrades. This tech, which utilizes virtual modeling and simulation tools, could be a game-changer.
Here’s what the NGAD section of the report says:
“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 development of penetrating counter air platforms with multi-domain awareness, agile resilient communications, and an integrated family of capabilities.”
Now, back to the image. The aircraft looks built for speed and all-encompassing stealth, possibly even larger than the F-22. The blended body and wing layout suggest ample internal storage for fuel and weapons within concealed bays. The Air Force’s aim is to have a fighter with the range to accompany bombers on deep penetration missions, akin to the P-51D Mustang’s role alongside the B-17G Flying Fortress in World War II.
What’s up with those folding vertical stabilizers, you ask? Their presence likely provides increased maneuverability or fuel efficiency. Additionally, the concept art indicates connectivity to satellite and airborne communications nodes, granting the NGAD pilot access to a steady stream of data from fellow friendly forces. This means a comprehensive battlefield picture without the need to activate their own sensor systems—a testament to the Air Force’s pursuit of “multi-domain awareness.”
….Man I really want to watch Topgun now.
Out to you,