Disclosed: NGAD (6th gen fighters) flight tests

Started by Spam, September 16, 2020, 01:19:20 am

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Spam

For those interested in *or involved in, the development or flight test of our next generation of combat aircraft, today brought the disclosure of the existence of ongoing flight test activity in the area.

V/r
Spam

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Air Force has secretly designed, built and flown at least one prototype of its enigmatic next-generation fighter jet, the service's top acquisition official confirmed to Defense News on Sept. 14.


https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-news/2020/09/15/the-us-air-force-has-built-and-flown-a-mysterious-full-scale-prototype-of-its-future-fighter-jet/

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/36431/the-u-s-air-force-has-flown-a-demonstrator-for-its-next-generation-fighter

JC004


Spam

September 16, 2020, 07:10:42 pm #2 Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 02:32:51 am by Spam
Thats a great question.

Since the premise of an X aircraft as opposed to a Y aircraft (cf. the YF-22 prototype) is that an X aircraft could be a demonstration or experimental jet, and doesn't necessarily have to have sensitive tech, there's not a guarantee that there are technologies that are protected. For example, the objectives of an X plane demo may allow for the use of iron or aluminum instead of titanium based on a reduced flight envelope or life cycle compared to a production jet, where the plan may stress demonstration of a new flight control system, or a new manufacturing technique.

So, an X plane series is not necessarily a "fly off". I have a copy of the PBS "Battle of the X planes" video and that ("Battle") was an enticing misnomer; for JSF, the contractors were asked to demo a set of CDP (concept demo program) goals in the X-32/35 which were publicly followed in all the trade journals/on line in the late 90s.  They were also contracted to submit a detailed production design via a separate effort named the Production Weapon System Concept (PWSC), which did contain restricted information and studies/simulations detailing their proposed final design. I'd say the vast bulk of source selection assessment was focused on the latter effort, coupled with cost and other factors of course, but it was all done IAW strict rigor and security. 

I hope the lessons from JSF have been learned. From this announcement I'd take this as an indication they have been.

R/s
Spam

Spam

Another good article on the new fighter program(s) for your AE edification.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/36509/the-air-forces-secret-next-gen-air-dominance-demonstrator-isnt-what-you-think-it-is

The author makes some great points about the differences between demonstrations, prototypes, and production aircraft that are worth a read. The examples he offers are spot on; I've sat in the cockpit of the Tacit Blue B-2 demonstrator and frankly it was mostly off the shelf (for the time) tech, since the capability demo was related to shaping/signature. This fits with the "skunking" approach to drive hard for a prototype (digital or physical) early on, focusing on only the capabilities which need to push the state of the art.

Just as with home improvement - spend the money where it shows and counts! LOL

R/s
Spam